Late last year, seabirds breeding along the Yorkshire coast were afforded additional protection following the designation of a new Marine Protected Area around Flamborough and Filey. 

After many years of research, monitoring and discussion, organisations involved in the work gathered at Filey Brigg to celebrate the official designation of the Flamborough and Filey Coast Special Protection Area (SPA).   

The recent designation includes protection for all species of seabird nesting around Flamborough and Filey, including the colourful puffin and the UK’s largest seabird, the gannet, which has a wing span of up to two metres. 

The protected area also includes two kilometres of inshore waters, where many seabirds carry out social behaviours during the breeding season and can often be seen gathered in small groups on the sea at this time of year. 

North Yorkshire County Councillor Helen Swiers, member for Filey, said: “We are delighted that Filey has now been officially designated within the special protection area.  The seabirds, and the habitat that they rely on for their breeding sites, are unique to this area so it is really important that we continue to work together to make sure that this amazing coastline is protected.”

“Scarborough Borough Councillor Tony Randerson, said:  “The seabird colony along our coastline is a unique natural spectacle and I am delighted that its importance has now been recognised on an international level.  This is the culmination of many years of hard work by a wide range of organisations and will help to protect these important species for the future.”   

Dave O’Hara, site manager at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, said: “It’s fantastic to see this recognition of the international importance of our breeding seabirds that make their home along the wonderful Flamborough and Filey coast.  It is the result of a real concerted effort from many individuals and organisations and will help ensure that we safeguard this unique and special area and the seabirds that depend on it.”

Kirsten Carter, Living Seas manager for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Yorkshire Wildlife Trust are thrilled to see the designation of this site. As well as providing a safe haven for local seabirds it forms part of a wider network of protected areas, providing opportunities for wildlife to move and thrive in such a dynamic environment.”

Attendees to the event enjoyed a guided cliff-top walk along the north cliffs of Filey, experiencing the seabird colony first-hand and learned more about how the designation is helping to protect the area’s unique wildlife. 

Officers and councillors from East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Scarborough Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council were joined by environmental experts from Natural England, the RSPB and the North Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority. 

For further information about the Flamborough and Filey Coast Special Protection Area (SPA), visit;

www.flamboroughheadsac.org.uk

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