Extent & Distribution of UK Coastal Habitats

 

The tables below give information on the extent (area covered) and distribution of coastal habitats around the UK. The most extensive coastal habitats are sand dunes and saltmarsh. Much of the sand dune resource is located around the Scottish coast, and most is fixed ‘grey dune’ covered with herbaceous vegetation. A range of other, less extensive, sand dune sub-types are recognised under the EU Habitats Directive. Saltmarsh is concentrated around the English coastline, as is vegetated shingle. Much of the saltmarsh vegetation belongs to the Atlantic salt meadows type. Most of the coastal cliff and slope habitat occurs in Scotland, which is also home to machair, a specialised habitat of Scottish coastlines.

 

UK BAP habitats

 

The table below shows the estimated extent of the five coastal priority habitat types recognised by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Values given are the overall total extent and percentage in each country (where available), based on information extracted from the Biodiversity Action Reporting System (BARS).

 

UK BAP priority habitats

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

United Kingdom

Coastal sand dunes

11,897 ha

50,000 ha

8,145 ha

1,500 ha

70,000 ha

Coastal saltmarsh

32,462 ha

6,000 ha

5,800 ha

250 ha

45,820 ha

Coastal vegetated shingle

3,596 ha

2,045 ha (700km)

109 ha

50 ha

5,800 ha

Maritime cliff and slopes

1,100 km

2,372 km

600 ha

unknown

4,059 km

Machair

not present

unknown

not present

not present

Unknown

 

 

EU Habitats Directive Annex I types

 

The table below shows the estimated extent of coastal habitat types listed under Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive.  The data is derived from the 2013 UK Report on Implementation of the Habitats Directive.

 

EU Habitats Directive Annex I types

(click here and follow links to see further information on each habitat)

England
(ha)

Scotland
(ha)

Wales
(ha)

Northern Ireland
(ha)

UK
(ha)

Dune habitats

 

 

 

 

 

H2130 Fixed dunes with herbaceous vegetation ('grey dunes')

3,900

14,800

2,700

1,000

22,400

H2120 Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria ('white dunes')

780

910

480

15

2,185

H2190 Humid dune slacks

200

1,184

390

22

1,796

H2150 Decalcified fixed dunes with Empetrum nigrum

190

550

40

120

900

H2170 Dunes with Salix repens ssp. argentea (Salicion arenariae)

230

170

230

12

642

H2140 Decalcified fixed dunes with Empetrum nigrum

322

322

H2110 Embryonic shifting dunes

100

90

100

5

295

H2160 Dunes with Hippophaë rhamnoides

235

235

H2250 Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.

8

8

Saltmarsh habitats

 

 

 

 

 

H1330 Atlantic salt meadows (Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae)

21,000

2,105

7,128

230

30,463

H1310 Salicornia and other annuals colonising mud and sand

1,620

300

210

10

2,140[1]

H1420 Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs (Sarcocornetea fruticosi)

100

7

107

H1320 Spartina swards (Spartinion maritimae)

100

100

Cliff habitats

 

 

 

 

 

H1230 Vegetated sea cliffs of the Atlantic and Baltic coasts

6,000

12,000

3,838

300

22,138

Shingle habitats

 

 

 

 

 

H1220 Perennial vegetation of stony banks

4,350

1,081

93

40

5,564

H1210 Annual vegetation of drift lines

100

66

16

20

202

Machair

 

 

 

 

 

H21A0 Machairs

14,500

14,500

[1] corrected value