Marine nature conservation crosses border

Looking along the top end of Berwickshire from Dowlaw.
Looking along the top end of Berwickshire from Dowlaw.

Inshore marine conservation areas between Berwickshire’s Fast Castle and the River Tyne in England are now managed by a new cross-border partnership.

The Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership brings together more than 20 Scottish and English organisations responsible for managing inshore waters.

These include organisations such as both St Abbs and Eyemouth harbour trusts and Scottish Borders Council, as well as national bodies such as Marine Scotland, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage.

For 16 years, a cross-border partnership has been managing the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast Special Area of Conservation and the Lindisfarne Special Protection Area.

The new partnership will co-ordinate management for the entire network of inshore marine nature conservation designations between Fast Castle Head and the Tyne.

The partners are developing a toolkit to help them manage this range of important marine areas including accurate mapping, up-to-date condition assessments and an inventory of local monitoring activity.

Partnership project officer Claire Hedley said: “Management of the marine environment can be really complex, especially in the inter-tidal zone where land and marine legislation, policies and organisations overlap.

“It’s even more complicated when we have sites that cross the Scottish-English border.

“Working in partnership is really important, and we’re excited to be developing a coordinated approach for the area.”

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said: “We welcome the establishment of this new partnership and look forward to working with the wide range of partners involved to help maintain and enhance the high-quality marine environment of the Scottish Borders.”

Partnership chairman Tom Cadwallender said: “The shallow sea, shores and estuaries of Berwickshire and Northumberland are home to some of the most spectacular marine life in world.

“With so many people involved in management, the partnership really helps us to work together to protect these special areas.”

The coastline of Northumberland is famous for its sandy bays like those at Bamburgh while Berwickshire’s high cliffs support thousands of breeding seabirds in the summer.