Condition of UK Coastal Habitats

 

The condition of UK coastal habitats has been assessed using Common Standards Monitoring Guidance for Coastal Habitats. This involves making an assessment of individual sites using a series of habitat characteristics or attributes and standardised condition categories.

 

Sites are judged to be in favourable condition when the objectives for the habitat are being met. Sites with habitat that is in an unsatisfactory state are classed as in unfavourable condition. Where this is the case, a judgement is made as to whether the habitat is: (i) recovering – moving towards the desired state; (ii) declining – moving away from the desired state; or (iii) no-change – neither improving nor declining. Sites are classed as destroyed (partially or completely) when the habitat is no longer present and there is no prospect of being able to restore it.

 

Condition on designated sites

 

The tables below summarise information on the condition of coastal habitats at a UK-level as reported in 2006-07.

 

On sites designated as SSSI/ASSIs, the condition of the majority of the three main coastal habitat types was either favourable or unfavourable recovering. Nevertheless, a sizeable percentage of each was unfavourable and did not show signs of recovery. The condition of these habitats on SACs was generally poorer and the majority of saltmarsh was in unfavourable condition with no signs of recovery.

 

Information from SACs on coastal habitats recognised under the EU Habitats Directive showed that the condition of these types varied greatly. Although in some cases most of the habitat was in favourable or unfavourable recovering condition, for others a large part was unfavourable with no signs of recovery.

 

Since 2006-07 the condition of some coastal habitats has improved (e.g. see The State of the Natural Environment 2008).

 

Tables of condition of UK coastal habitats

 

Click on the habitat links in the table for details – based on data from the Common Standards Monitoring for Designated Sites: First Six Year Report (2006) and the 2nd UK Report on Implementation of the Habitats Directive (2007)

 

Sites designated as SSSI/ASSIs

 

Favourable

Unfavourable recovering

Unfavourable not recovering

Destroyed or part destroyed

Sea cliffs

71%

4%

25%

Saltmarsh

62%

6%

31%

1%

Dunes, shingle and machair

51%

13%

35%

1%

 

Sites designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

 

Favourable

Unfavourable recovering

Unfavourable not recovering

Destroyed or part destroyed

Sea cliffs

66%

14%

17%

3%

Dunes, shingle and machair

46%

18%

36%

Saltmarsh

43%

57%

 

Sites designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) – broken down into EU Habitats Directive Annex I types

 

 

Favourable

Unfavourable recovering

Unfavourable not recovering

Dune habitats

 

 

 

H2160 Dunes with Hippophaë rhamnoides

100%

H2140 Decalcified fixed dunes with Empetrum nigrum

86%

14%

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

61%

19%

20%

H2110 Embryonic shifting dunes

49%

39%

12%

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

31%

17%

53%

H2190 Humid dune slacks

27%

26%

47%

H2250 Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.

15%

85%

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

1%

35%

64%

H2150 Atlantic decalcified fixed dunes (Calluno-Ulicetea)

8%

92%

Saltmarsh habitats

 

 

 

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

85%

15%

H1310Salicornia and other annuals colonising mud and sand

70%

3%

27%

H1330 Atlantic salt meadows (Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae)

40%

10%

50%

H1320 Spartina swards (Spartinion maritimae)

100%

Cliff habitats

 

 

 

H1230 Vegetated sea cliffs of the Atlantic and Baltic coasts

50%

39%

11%

Machair

 

 

 

H21A0 Machairs

30%

70%

Shingle habitats

 

 

 

H1210 Annual vegetation of drift lines

24%

1%

75%

H1220 Perennial vegetation of stony banks

24%

68%

8%

[all tables created May 2010]