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Natural England submit proposal for Poole Harbour SPA extension

On Friday the 22nd of January an application was submitted by Natural England to extend the areas of Poole Harbours current SPA. An SPA is a Special Protection Area which is set under the Birds Directive, a piece of European legislation created to help protect Europe’s birds and habitats. The decision to try and extend the SPA came when data was analysed showing that certain bird numbers and populations in Poole Harbour had now risen to such an extent that totals now fit within SPA guidelines, unlike last time the data was assessed.

Mentioned within the application was the Harbours growing and important Common and Sandwich Tern colonies on Brownsea Island with the harbour holding 1.8% and 1.6% respectively of the whole UK breeding population of these species. Also mentioned within the application is Poole Harbours breeding Mediterranean Gulls, where it states we have 10% of the whole UK breeding population as well as a significant percentage of the UK’s over-wintering Little Egret and Eurasian Spoonbill. However, it states Poole Harbour has the 2nd largest over-wintering population of Spoonbill in country, but as far as our knowledge goes we have the largest?

The full departmental brief is a fascinating read and can be found HERE, but as far as a local conservation success story goes, this is wonderful news for Poole Harbour and its birds if the SPA extension goes ahead. We’re keeping everything crossed come April when the decision is made, but until then we’ll carry on gathering data in order to back up applications like this again in the future. Natural England deserve a huge well done for bringing this together, as do all the organisations that helped collate the relevant data.

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