Natural England - Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay SPA and Ramsar consultation

Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay SPA and Ramsar consultation

Natural England held a consultation on the proposal to extend the Dungeness to Pett Level Special Protection Area and to designate a new Ramsar Site.

Latest update

  • The NE Board approved the DRMRB pSPA and pRamsar consultation report on 29th February 2012.
  • The Consultation Report was submitted to Defra on the 19th April 2012.
  • The Impact Assessment Report was submitted to Defra on the 4th May 2012.
  • Defra will consider the reports and if approved, sign off by the Minister will follow.


Dungeness shingle

As the Government's statutory advisor Natural England is responsible for identifying possible SPAs and Ramsar sites and conducting, on behalf of Government, public consultation on proposals for these sites.

Designation involves several stages. The process is as follows:

  • Once a site has been identified by Natural England, the scientific case is presented to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for initial approval.
  • If Defra are in agreement then Natural England is requested to undertake a public consultation on behalf of Government, to give everyone who might be affected by the designation, or who has relevant scientific information, an opportunity to comment. This includes land owners and occupiers, local planning authorities, other agencies and interested organisations.
  • Following the public consultation Natural England will collate the responses and draft a report outlining the final site recommendations. This report will be submitted to the Secretary of State for consideration and a decision will be made on whether to designate the sites. A summary report will be made available on this website.
  • All owners and occupiers will then be informed of the status of the proposed designations.

Qualifying features of the proposed designations

Shoveler ducks

Proposals to extend the existing Dungeness to Pett Level SPAexternal link and to designate a new Ramsar siteexternal link are being considered by the UK Government for a number of reasons.

The Dungeness to Pett Level SPA, including the proposed extensions detailed in the scientific case presented to Defra, qualifies for the following reasons:

  • The site regularly supports more than 1% of the GB populations of 12 species listed in Annex I of the EC Birds Directive – see table 1: (63kb)pdf document.

  • The site regularly supports more than 1% of the biogeographical population of one regularly occurring migratory species, Shoveler Anas clypeata.

  • The site regularly supports more than 20,000 waterbirds during the non-breeding season.

In addition to supporting internationally important populations of birds listed in table one, the Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay proposed Ramsar site also qualifies for the following reasons:

  • The site contains representative, rare, or unique examples of natural or near-natural wetland types such as vegetated annual drift lines, perennial vegetated stony banks, natural shingle wetlands, saline lagoons, freshwater pits and basin fens.

  • The site supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities associated with wetland habitats. These communities include rich and diverse assemblages of bryophytes, vascular plants and invertebrates that are rare, threatened or specially protected.

The formal three month public consultation on the proposals to extend the current SPA boundary and the designation of a Ramsar site started on 16 September 2010 and ended on 13 December 2010.

Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay consultation leaflet: (272kb)pdf document

Impact Assessment

Whilst the purpose of the above designations is to conserve biodiversity, it is acknowledged that there is a need to take account of economic, social, cultural and regional issues in the context of the general objective of sustainable development.

Whilst all decision making regarding the identification and consideration of the designation must be made on the basis of scientific evidence alone, it is important that the social and economic impacts of this designation are understood. To this end an initial impact assessment has been produced by Natural England to meet with government guidance.

Departmental Brief

The scientific evidence supporting the designation was presented to Government in a departmental brief.

The Purpose of the Consultation

The purpose of the consultation was to seek the view of all interested parties on:

  • The scientific case for the proposed extension to the existing SPA and new Ramsar site.
  • The assessment of the likely economic and social impact of the designations.

The formal consultation was conducted over a three month period, commencing 16 September 2010 until 13 December 2010. The full set of consultation documents and a copy of the pre-consultation leaflet are set out below.

Consultation Documents

Potential SPA

Proposed Ramsar Site

For more information:


Responses that were sent to Natural England regarding the proposed designations could form part of the consideration of the designation of the new sites and the responses have been published in a summary report. If you do not wish your response or details to be publically available please inform us in writing to the address above so that if we receive a freedom of information request we can take this into account. Please note however that we are not bound to the confidentiality of your details irrespective of privacy statements within the responses you send. Please see our Freedom of informationexternal link pages for more information.

Contact Details

If you would like to discuss the designation with us please contact us:

Freepost RSBT - CHAB – JJAY
Dungeness Consultation Team
Natural England
International House
9th Floor
Dover Place
Kent TN23 1HU

Email Address:
Phone: 0300 060 4776

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