Public Consultation on Studland to Portland possible marine Special Area of Conservation ends Thursday 24 November

There is still time to get involved in the public consultation on proposals for a possible new Special Area of Conservation (SAC) between Studland to Portland, off the Dorset coast.

Natural England wants to ensure that as many people as possible can take part in the consultation before it closes on Thursday 24 November.

The proposed marine protected area, which will form part of the ‘Natura 2000‘ European network of marine protected areas, covers more than 330sq kms – approximately half the size of the New Forest National Park – and it contains a wide range of diverse, rare reef features.

The formal 12-week consultation is being run by Natural England and is looking to seek the views of all interested parties on the scientific case for designation of this possible SAC, and on its likely economic, environmental and social impacts – and that includes leisure sailing.

Key information, such as the consultation guidance document and maps of the proposed SAC, are on Natural England’s website.

In 2012 Natural England will send the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs final site recommendations, an impact assessment, a report on the outcome of the consultation and a collation of all responses received. Having taken these into account, the Government will then decide whether to submit this possible SAC to the European Commission for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network.

To comment formally, please email:

NB: This process is EU-generated and is not part of the Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) project, which is a UK-government initiative. However, there is considerable overlap in the aims and areas of expertise, and it is envisaged that all projects will eventually join to create a Marine Protected Network.

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Image: Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset by Steinsky/Creative Commons