Natural England Conservation Advice for Marine Protected Areas
Cumbria Coast MCZ

Natural England guidance

This site collection contains Natural England’s conservation advice for this site. It fulfils Natural England’s responsibility under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, to give advice on how to further the conservation objectives for the site, identify the activities that are capable of affecting the designated features and the processes which they are dependent upon.

Natural England’s conservation advice for this site is made up of a number of components. You will need to consider: Additional information for consideration:

Site information

Site name: Cumbria Coast MCZ
Designation type: MCZ
Site identification: UKMCZ0005
Designation date: 21 November 2013
Designated features
(click to see site specific description):

General information on the site features:
The general information on the designated features from the MCZ features catalogue is useful for understanding the designated features, and should be used in conjunction with the site specific information.
Designated area (ha): 1800
Component Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI):
Overlapping Protected Areas:

Last updated: 16th May 2016

Background information and geography

Cumbria Coast MCZ supports some of the best, most extensive and important examples of rocky shore habitats and communities on the predominantly sediment coast of north-west England.

At the northernmost part of the site, St Bees Head supports the best examples of rocky shore and important intertidal boulder communities.

South of St Bees Head, the intertidal boulder and cobble reef ‘scars’ support honeycomb worm reefs and mussel beds and are interspersed with extensive areas of sandy beach. Where the scars extend to and below the low water mark, they support a rich marine wildlife.

Site maps

Use the MAGIC website to see site maps, including habitats, species and other marine designations.

These maps are based on best available evidence, there are some caveats associated with the maps on MAGIC.

Conservation objectives

The site’s conservation objectives apply to the Marine Conservation Zone and the individual species and/or habitat for which the site has been designated (the “Designated features” listed below).

The conservation objective of the zone is that the protected habitats:

  1. are maintained in favourable condition if they are already in favourable condition
  2. be brought into favourable condition if they are not already in favourable condition

For each protected feature, favourable condition means that, within a zone:

  1. extent is stable increasing
  2. its structures and functions, its quality, and the composition of its characteristic biological communities (including the diversity and abundance of species forming part or inhabiting the habitat) are sufficient to ensure that it remains healthy and does not deteriorate

Any temporary deterioration in condition is to be disregarded if the habitat is sufficiently healthy and resilient to enable its recovery.

Any alteration to a feature brought about entirely by natural processes is to be disregarded when determining whether a protected feature is in favourable condition.

This should be read in conjunction with the accompanying supplementary advice section, which provides more detailed information to help achieve the objectives set out above, including which attributes should be maintained and which restored.

Designated features:

  • Intertidal underboulder communities
  • High enery intertidal rock
  • Honeycomb worm reefs
  • Intertidal biogenic reefs
  • Intertidal sand and muddy sand
  • Moderate energy infralittoral rock
  • Peat and clay exposures


Supplementary Advice on Conservation Objectives

See supplementary advice on conservation objectives for this site, which aim to describe the range of ecological attributes that are most likely to contribute to a site’s overall integrity.

Last updated: 16th May 2016


Advice on Operations

See the advice on operations for this site to view information on the sensitivity of features in this site to the pressures exerted by different activities.

Last updated: 14th September 2018


Feature Condition

In 2016, Natural England trialled and rolled out a new condition assessment methodology that provide robust results and information on the condition of marine features within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Area Teams conduct these assessments following a standardised approach that assesses if feature- and site-specific targets have been met. Assessments for the first sites have been completed, and several others are currently assessed by the Area Teams.

The main part of the assessment process is directly undertaken and stored here on Natural England’s Designated Sites View. These pages are currently being finalised, so assessments will be available for viewing in the near future. In the interim, contact the local teams for further information.

More details on the condition assessments for features in this site can be found here.

Management measures

If you are carrying out an environmental assessment, planning an operation or assessing an operation or proposal, it is important to consult with the following organisations where applicable. To find out if any management measures, byelaws or other restrictions apply to your activity see the management measure page or you can use the following links for more information.

The Marine Management Organisation license, regulate and plan marine activities in the seas around England and Wales so that they’re carried out in a sustainable way.
Environment Agency are responsible for regulating major industry and waste, water quality and resources, fisheries, inland river, estuary and harbour navigations, conservation and ecology.
Offshore Petroleum Regulator for the Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) regulates oil and gas, CCS and gas storage activities in the marine environment.

Further information

For further information relating to this designated site you can refer to the following resources:
Site specific information: Other information:
For further information about this site contact: Natural England enquiries Telephone: 0300 060 3900. Email: enquiries@naturalengland.org.uk

For further information on the Conservation Advice Project, including Designated Sites System (DSS) guidance, Frequently Asked Questions and a Glossary of terminology, please contact: MCAProject@naturalengland.org.uk


Close