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Thames Estuary and Marshes SPA and Ramsar site

The Thames Estuary and Marshes SPA includes both marine and terrestrial habitats, and the marine area is also termed a European Marine Site. The marshes extend for around 15 km along the south side of the estuary, and also include some intertidal areas found on the north bank . It encompasses brackish, floodplain grazing marsh ditches and saline lagoons as well as intertidal saltmarsh and mudflat. This site was classified as both an SPA and a Ramsar Site (which covers approximately 5500 hectares) on the 31 March 2000. (For more detailed information visit the Joint Nature Conservation Committee's website (opens in a new window).

The Thames Estuary and Marshes SPA qualifies under Article 4.1 of the EU Birds Directive as it supports internationally important populations of the regularly occurring Annex 1 species avocet and hen harrier. This Site also qualifies as an SPA under Article 4.2 of the EU Birds Directive as it supports internationally important populations of regularly occurring migratory species including ringed plover, grey plover, dunlin, knot, black-tailed godwit and redshank. This SPA site also supports an internationally important assemblage of waterfowl as stated in Section 4.2 of the Directive, which include gadwall, shoveler, tufted duck, and pochard.

The Thames Estuary and Marshes Ramsar site qualifies under Criterion 2 as it supports 1 nationally rare and 14 nationally scarce plant species, as well as 1 endangered, 10 vulnerable and 12 rare invertebrate species. It also qualifies under Criterion 5 for its internationally important assemblage of waterfowl, and Criterion 6 for its internationally important numbers of over-wintering waterfowl.

The Regulation 33 advice for the Thames Estuary and Marshes European Marine Site encompasses both the SPA and the Ramsar interest features. The conservation objectives for these sites are included within this document. The current conservation status for these sites are currently not available, however condition assessments of the component SSSI units of the South Thames Estuary and Marshes and Mucking Flats and Marshes sites are available.

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