Crouch and Roach Estuaries SSSI, SPA and Ramsar site

Closed 2 Mar 2018

Opened 2 Nov 2017


On 2 November 2017 Natural England notified additional land as part of the Crouch and Roach Estuaries Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), recognising the land’s importance for overwintering waterbirds and other interest features of the SSSI. It is proposed that the boundaries of the Crouch and Roach Estuaries (Mid Essex Coast Phase 3) Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar site are also extended to include the same areas of land.

Natural England is therefore running two consultations concurrently:

1) Seeking views on the extension of the SSSI - to inform our decision on whether to confirm or withdraw this notification.

2) Seeking views on the proposed extension of the SPA and Ramsar site – to form the basis of a report to the Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

Documents providing more information on both these consultations can be found in the ‘related documents’ section.

You can submit your views via an online survey, by email or post. When doing so please indicate which of the designations (SSSI, SPA or Ramsar site) your comments apply to.

Why We Are Consulting

The Crouch and Roach Estuaries SSSI - previously notified in 1996 - is situated on the Essex coast and incorporates two coastal river estuaries that join before exiting into the North Sea. The Crouch and Roach Estuaries SPA and Ramsar site - last classified/ designated in 1998 – share the same boundaries as the SSSI.

The estuaries’ mudflats, saltmarsh, grazing marsh and other coastal habitats support internationally important numbers of overwintering dark-bellied brent geese and other waterbirds, as well as scarce and vulnerable invertebrates and plants.

At two locations on the Crouch, managed realignment of the sea defences has been used to create new areas of intertidal mudflat and saltmarsh to compensate for losses of these habitats elsewhere. A relatively small realignment near Brandy Hole was created in 2002 and a much larger one at Allfleet’s Marsh, on the north shore of Wallasea Island, in 2006. Both these sites lie just outside the Crouch and Roach Estuaries protected site as previously defined but now support SSSI, SPA and Ramsar site waterbirds and other interest features. Natural England has therefore re-notified the SSSI to include the realignment sites. Taken together, their inclusion increases the area of the SSSI by just under 7%, to 1,848 hectares.


What Happens Next

We are now assessing the response to the consultation and will be making a recommendation to the Board of Natural England in due course.  Natural England has to make a decision to either confirm or withdraw this notification by 1st August 2018 or the notification will cease to exist.  

Essex Local Delivery Team will widely promote Natural England's decision. 


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