Status: Purely descriptive
Marine and coastal areas host a variety of ecosystems and habitats which have been the focus of various designations in recent years. Designations seek to maintain or improve the status of natural, ecological, and/or cultural features which are deemed valuable. Given the unique nature of the Solway, with extensive saltmarsh (merse), a fast and large tidal range, diverse landscapes, plants, animals, fossils, and many more features, this area has designations on both the Scottish and English sides.
There are a large number of land based designations in addition to marine sites with designated status, some of which can be seen in the image opposite (sites such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest have been limited to only those which contribute towards the network of Marine Protected Areas designations on land are omitted). The Solway is designated for unique and rare habitats, species, and features.
This section describes the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Biosphere, Ramsar sites, in addition to Special Protection Areas (SPAs), and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). In addition to these internationally recognised sites, a selection of the nationally recognised sites around the Solway will be highlighted; Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Heritage Coast designations. If sites with one of the above designations have multiple different designations the overlapping designations are also described. Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) form the basis of, and are the underlying designation for, SPAs and SACs.
It is worth noting that there are several other designations on the coast of the Solway. As these are not considered to contribute to the network of MPAs they are not discussed here. For example, the Mull of Galloway SAC, which is designated for Vegetated Sea Cliffs, and is also a SSSI, is not included in the expanded sections despite having two designations. Although the SSSI is designated for coastal features, the sea cliffs SAC designation is not considered as contributing to the network of MPAs. Nearby designations are considered within the planning process and the effects, or potential effects of the proposed development on the protected site. This includes Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection areas in the process of being designated.
This section focuses on environmental and ecological designations in the marine and coastal areas of the Solway. There are additional forms of land-based designations which are protected for a variety of reasons including, for example designated monuments, and sites of historic value.
Image; Scotland’s National Marine Plan Interactive, with layers (links will provide usage licence, data provider, etc); ‘Solway Region (mask)‘ © Crown Copyright, All rights reserved, Local Nature Reserves (LNR) (SNH WMS) © Crown Copyright, All rights reserved, National Nature Reserves (NNR) (SNH WMS) © Crown Copyright, All rights reserved, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) contributing to the MPA network (SNH WMS) (OSCP) © Crown Copyright, All rights reserved, Ramsar sites contributing to the MPA Network (SNH WMS) (OSCP) © Crown Copyright, All rights reserved, Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) contributing to the MPA network (SNH WMS) (OSCP) © , Special Protection Areas (SPAs) contributing to the MPA network (SNH WMS) (OSCP) © Crown Copyright, All rights reserved, Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) contributing to the MPA network (SNH WMS) (OSCP) © Crown Copyright, All rights reserved