This is a static version of the conservation advice for this site, generated on 20/09/2019.
Please check the latest advice for this site at https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/

Lands End and Cape Bank SAC

Last updated: 20th March 2017

Supplementary advice

The Supplementary Advice on Conservation Objectives (SACOs) present attributes which are ecological characteristics or requirements of the designated species and habitats within a site. The listed attributes are considered to be those which best describe the site’s ecological integrity and which if safeguarded will enable achievement of the Conservation Objectives. These attributes have a target which is either quantified or qualified depending on the available evidence.

The target identifies as far as possible the desired state to be achieved for the attribute. In many cases, the attribute targets show if the current objective is to either ‘maintain’ or ‘restore’ the attribute. The targets given for each attribute do not represent thresholds to assess the significance of any given impact in Habitats Regulation Assessments. You will need to assess this on a case-by-case basis using the most current information available.

Where there is no evidence to determine a marine feature’s condition, a vulnerability assessment, which includes sensitivity and exposure information for features and activities in a site, has been used as a proxy for condition. Evidence used in preparing the SACO has been cited with hyperlinks included where possible. Where references have not been provided, Natural England has applied ecological knowledge and expert judgement.

Some, but not all, of these attributes can also be used for regular monitoring of the condition of the designated features. The attributes selected for monitoring the features, and the standards used to assess their condition, are listed in separate monitoring documents, which will be available from Natural England. As condition assessment information becomes available, the conservation advice package will be reviewed accordingly.

When to use

You should use this information, along with the conservation objectives and case-specific advice issued by Natural England when developing, proposing or assessing an activity, plan or project that may affect the site.

Any proposals or operations which may affect the site or its features should be designed so they do not adversely affect any of the attributes in the SACO or achievement of the conservation objectives.

Feature target

‘Maintain’ targets do not preclude the need for management, now or in the future, to avoid a significant risk of damage or deterioration to the feature. The supporting and/or explanatory notes in the SACOs set out why the target was chosen and any relevant site based supporting information. This is based on the best available information, including that gathered during monitoring of the feature’s current condition.
Feature/Subfeature nameAttributeTargetSeasonSupporting notes
Circalittoral rockDistribution: presence and spatial distribution of biological communitiesMaintain the presence and spatial distribution of circalittoral rock communities.N/AA variety of communities make up the habitat. Listed component communities reflect the habitat's overall character and conservation interest. Communities are described as biotopes using EUNIS or the Marine Habitat Classification. Communities include, but are not limited to, those that are notable or representative of the feature. Representative communities include, for example, those covering large areas and notable communities include those that are rare, scarce or particularly sensitive to pressure. Changes to the spatial distribution of communities across the feature could highlight changes to the overall feature (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:

The circalittoral rock supports a mixture of moderate to high energy communities, with very diverse faunal assemblages. These fall under the habitat complexes A4.13 'mixed faunal turf communities' and A4.21 'echinoderms and crustose communities'.

On the offshore reefs, the most abundant communities include:

  • A4.132 'Corynactis viridis and a mixed turf of crisiids, Bugula, Scrupocellaria, and Cellaria on moderately tide-swept exposed circalittoral rock’, and
  • A4.2122 'Caryophyllia smithii and sponges with Pentapora foliacea, Porella compressa and crustose communities on wave-exposed circalittoral rock' (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011), (Birchenough et al., 2008).
On the coastal circalittoral reefs, the most abundant communities include: Other communities recorded within the site include:
  • A4.2121 'Brittlestars overlying coralline crusts, Parasmittina trispinosa and Caryophyllia smithii on wave-exposed circalittoral rock', and
  • A4.2144 'Brittlestars on faunal and algal encrusted exposed to moderately wave-exposed circalittoral rock'
  • A4.135 'Sparse sponges, Nemertesia spp. and Alcyonidium diaphanum on circalittoral mixed substrata' (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011), (Birchenough et al., 2008).

A particularly notable biotope, recorded on the circalittoral rock in both the coastal and offshore reef in 2010, is A4.1311 'Alcyonium glomeratum and Eunicella verrucosa on mixed turf rock'. The pink sea-fan Eunicella verrucosa is a UK priority species, protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Other noteworthy species found in this biotope include Pentapora fascialis and Stolonica socialis (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockDistribution: presence and spatial distribution of biological communitiesMaintain the presence and spatial distribution of infralittoral rock communities.N/AA variety of communities make up the habitat. Listed component communities reflect the habitat's overall character and conservation interest. Communities are described as biotopes using EUNIS or the Marine Habitat Classification. Communities include, but are not limited to, those that are notable or representative of the feature. Representative communities include, for example, those covering large areas and notable communities include those that are rare, scarce or particularly sensitive to pressure. Changes to the spatial distribution of communities across the feature could highlight changes to the overall feature (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:

The infralittoral rock at the site supports high energy communities, with only one medium energy biotope recorded. These high energy communities are mainly comprised of 'kelp with cushion fauna and/or foliose red seaweeds' (A3.11) and 'sediment-affected or disturbed kelp and seaweed communities' (A3.12). The abundance of these latter communities on the coastal upstanding reef (Birchenough et al., 2008) reflects the exposed nature of the infralittoral rock at the site.

The most common infralittoral biotopes identified include:

  • A3.115 'Laminaria hyperborea with dense foliose red seaweeds on exposed infralittoral rock'
  • A3.125 'Mixed kelps with scour-tolerant and opportunistic foliose red seaweeds on scoured or sand-covered infralittoral rock', and
  • A3.1161 'Foliose red seaweeds with dense Dictyota dichotoma and/or Dictyopteris membranacea on exposed lower infralittoral rock' (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011), (Birchenough et al., 2008).

A3.115 and A3.125 were recorded as being the most common in 2007, with A3.125, A3.1161 and A3.12 the most common in 2010. Changes in biotopes since 2007 have been attributed to differences in sampling and the surveys were not considered to show significant change in actual biotope composition (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011).

The spatial distribution of infralittoral communities has not been mapped


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsDistribution: presence and spatial distribution of biological communitiesMaintain the presence and spatial distribution of reef communities.N/AA variety of communities make up the habitat. Listed component communities reflect the habitat's overall character and conservation interest. Communities are described as biotopes using EUNIS or the Marine Habitat Classification. Communities include, but are not limited to, those that are notable or representative of the feature. Representative communities include, for example, those covering large areas and notable communities include those that are rare, scarce or particularly sensitive to pressure. Changes to the spatial distribution of communities across the feature could highlight changes to the overall feature (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:

The reef is characterised by the following communities:

  • Infralittoral rock: kelp and red algae communities
  • Circalittoral rock: faunal communities
Refer to the subfeature descriptions for more information about these communities.

The spatial distribution of reef communities has not been mapped


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Circalittoral rockExtent and distributionMaintain the total extent and spatial distribution of circalittoral rock subject to natural variation in sediment veneer.N/AThe extent describes the presence and area of the habitat. It’s the total area of the habitat across the site as a whole, even where it’s patchy. The distribution describes the more detailed location(s) and pattern of habitat across the site. The distribution will influence the component communities present, and also help increase the health and resilience of the feature. The extent of rocky reef is unlikely to change over time, unless as a result of human activity. However, the reef boundaries may become indistinct if bedrock is covered by a thin layer of sediment (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004). (Davies et al., 2001), (Ware and Kenny, 2011)
Site-specifics:

The circalittoral rock at this site is primarily located in the 20,566ha offshore rocky reef (Birchenough et al., 2008). There is also a smaller area of circalittoral rock present in the southern part of the coastal reef, running alongside the infralittoral rock (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockExtent and distributionMaintain the total extent and spatial distribution of infralittoral rock subject to natural variation in sediment veneer.N/AThe extent describes the presence and area of the habitat. It’s the total area of the habitat across the site as a whole, even where it’s patchy. The distribution describes the more detailed location(s) and pattern of habitat across the site. The distribution will influence the component communities present, and also help increase the health and resilience of the feature. The extent of rocky reef is unlikely to change over time, unless as a result of human activity. However, the reef boundaries may become indistinct if bedrock is covered by a thin layer of sediment (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004). (Davies et al., 2001), (Ware and Kenny, 2011)
Site-specifics:

The infralittoral rock at this site is primarily located in the 4,372ha upstanding coastal rocky reef (Birchenough et al., 2008).

Infralittoral rock is also present in the offshore reef, forming a mosaic with circalittoral rock. Circalittoral rock dominates the offshore reef and the infralittoral rock is found in a strip down the eastern edge of the reef, with smaller areas interspersed throughout.


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsExtent and distributionMaintain the total extent of reef habitat at 24,938ha, and spatial distribution as defined on the map, subject to natural variation in sediment veneer.N/AThe extent describes the presence and area of the habitat. It’s the total area of the habitat across the site as a whole, even where it’s patchy. The distribution describes the more detailed location(s) and pattern of habitat across the site. The distribution will influence the component communities present, and also help increase the health and resilience of the feature. The extent of rocky reef is unlikely to change over time, unless as a result of human activity. However, the reef boundaries may become indistinct if bedrock is covered by a thin layer of sediment veneer (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004). (Davies et al., 2001), (Ware and Kenny, 2011)
Site-specifics:

The reef habitat in the site is made up of a coastal upstanding rocky reef and an offshore rocky reef.

The coastal upstanding rocky reef stretches for 25km along the coast and covers an area of 4,372 ha (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011), making up the Lands End part of the site. The reef is topographically complex, particularly in its southern section (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011).

The offshore reef is crescent shaped, stretching for 35km along the coast, 12km wide at its maximum and covering 20,566 ha (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011), (Birchenough et al., 2008). This reef makes up the Cape Bank section of the site.

Both reefs are primarily granite and a mosaic of infralittoral and circalittoral rock. However, infralittoral rock dominates the coastal reef and circalittoral rock dominates the offshore reef. Refer to the subfeature descriptions for more detailed information.


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockStructure and function: presence and abundance of key structural and influential species[Maintain OR Recover OR Restore] the abundance of listed species*, to enable each of them to be a viable component of the habitat.N/A

Natural England has included an attribute for the abundance of key structural and influential species for habitat features.

Structural species are those that form part of the habitat structure or help to define a key biotope.

Influential species are those that are likely to have a key role affecting the structure and function of the habitat (such as bioturbators (mixers of sediment), grazers, surface borers, predators or other species with a significant functional role linked to the habitat).

These will be identified at a national level in accordance with the criteria defined in the key structural and influential species paper (Covey et al., 2016). *For each species listed the reason for its inclusion as structural or influential and the information supporting its presence within the community of this site will be provided.


Site-specifics:


Circalittoral rockStructure and function: presence and abundance of key structural and influential species[Maintain OR Recover OR Restore] the abundance of listed species*, to enable each of them to be a viable component of the habitat.N/A

Natural England has included an attribute for the abundance of key structural and influential species for habitat features.

Structural species are those that form part of the habitat structure or help to define a key biotope.

Influential species are those that are likely to have a key role affecting the structure and function of the habitat (such as bioturbators (mixers of sediment), grazers, surface borers, predators or other species with a significant functional role linked to the habitat).

These will be identified at a national level in accordance with the criteria defined in the key structural and influential species paper (Covey et al., 2016). *For each species listed the reason for its inclusion as structural or influential and the information supporting its presence within the community of this site will be provided.


Site-specifics:


ReefsStructure and function: presence and abundance of key structural and influential species[Maintain OR Recover OR Restore] the abundance of listed species*, to enable each of them to be a viable component of the habitat.N/A

Natural England has included an attribute for the abundance of key structural and influential species for habitat features.

Structural species are those that form part of the habitat structure or help to define a key biotope.

Influential species are those that are likely to have a key role affecting the structure and function of the habitat (such as bioturbators (mixers of sediment), grazers, surface borers, predators or other species with a significant functional role linked to the habitat).

These will be identified at a national level in accordance with the criteria defined in the key structural and influential species paper (Covey et al., 2016). *For each species listed the reason for its inclusion as structural or influential and the information supporting its presence within the community of this site will be provided.


Site-specifics:


Infralittoral rockStructure: non-native species and pathogensRestrict the introduction and spread of non-native species and pathogens, and their impacts.N/ANon-native species may become invasive and displace native organisms by preying on them or out-competing them for resources such as food, space or both. In some cases this has led to the loss of indigenous species from certain areas (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004). A pathogen causes disease or illness to its host. Pathogens include bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi (Biology-Online, 2008).
Site-specifics:

Invasive non-native species have been recorded in the site. These include the red seaweed Bonnemaisonia hamifera (National Biodiversity Network (NBN), 2012-2013).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsStructure: non-native species and pathogensRestrict the introduction and spread of non-native species and pathogens, and their impacts.N/ANon-native species may become invasive and displace native organisms by preying on them or out-competing them for resources such as food, space or both. In some cases this has led to the loss of indigenous species from certain areas (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004). A pathogen causes disease or illness to its host. Pathogens include bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi (Biology-Online, 2008).
Site-specifics:

Invasive non-native species have been recorded in the site. These include the red seaweed Bonnemaisonia hamifera (National Biodiversity Network (NBN), 2012-2013).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Circalittoral rockStructure: non-native species and pathogensRestrict the introduction and spread of non-native species and pathogens, and their impacts.N/ANon-native species may become invasive and displace native organisms by preying on them or out-competing them for resources such as food, space or both. In some cases this has led to the loss of indigenous species from certain areas (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004). A pathogen causes disease or illness to its host. Pathogens include bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi (Biology-Online, 2008).
Site-specifics:

Invasive non-native species have been recorded in the site. These include the red seaweed Bonnemaisonia hamifera (National Biodiversity Network (NBN), 2012-2013).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Circalittoral rockStructure: physical structure of rocky substrateMaintain the surface and structural complexity, and the stability of the reef structure.N/AThe physical structure of the rocky reef will influence the marine life that's likely to be present within a site. Structural and surface complexity, the spaces between rocks, fissures and crevices are all examples of aspects that should be considered (Hiscock et al., 2006).
Site-specifics:

Circalittoral rock dominates the offshore reef. This reef includes three steep rocky ridges, which are topographically complex. A rock platform, approximately 45-55m deep, is the base for these ridges which run for 20km along the reef. The ridges are over 1km wide and rise up to 25m from the platform (Birchenough et al., 2008).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsStructure: physical structure of rocky substrateMaintain the surface and structural complexity, and the stability of the reef structure.N/AThe physical structure of the reef will influence the marine life that's likely to be present within a site. Structural and surface complexity, the spaces between rocks, fissures and crevices are all examples of aspects that should be considered (Hiscock et al., 2006).
Site-specifics:

There are two main areas of reef, the coastal upstanding rocky reef and the offshore upstanding rocky reef. Both reefs are a mosaic of infralittoral and circalittoral rock, although infralittoral rock dominates the coastal reef and circalittoral rock dominates the offshore reef.

The coastal section of reef has a complex topography in its southern part, with gullies, crests and reef walls. There are also a number of large islets making up the reef (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011). The northern section of the reef is less complex and diverse. The rocky seafloor in this reef section is relatively flat, with coastal cliffs extending out into the sublittoral (Birchenough et al., 2008).

The main feature of the offshore reef is three steep rocky ridges, which are topographically complex. A rock platform, approximately 45-55m deep, is the base for three ridges which run for 20km along the reef. The ridges are over 1km wide and rise up to 25m from the platform (Birchenough et al., 2008).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockStructure: physical structure of rocky substrateMaintain the surface and structural complexity, and the stability of the reef structure.N/AThe physical structure of the rocky reef will influence the marine life that's likely to be present within a site. Structural and surface complexity, the spaces between rocks, fissures and crevices are all examples of aspects that should be considered (Hiscock et al., 2006).
Site-specifics:

Infralittoral rock dominates the coastal reef, which has a complex topography of gullies, crests and reef walls. Longships reef is a group of rocky islets in the southern section of the coastal reef, with all but three of the islets submerged at high water. There is another twin-tipped islet one mile off Cape Cornwall, known as The Brisons. These add topographic complexity and biological diversity to the reef (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011).

The northern section of the reef is less complex and diverse. The rocky seafloor in this reef section is relatively flat, with coastal cliffs extending out into the sublittoral (Birchenough et al., 2008).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockStructure: species composition of component communitiesMaintain the species composition of component communities.N/A

Species composition of communities includes a consideration of both the overall range of species present within the community, as well as their relative abundance. Species considered need not be restricted to sessile benthic species but could include mobile species associated with the benthos. Species composition could be altered by human activities without changing the overall community type. Within each component community, species composition and population structure should be taken into consideration to avoid diminishing biodiversity and affecting ecosystem functioning within the habitat (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).


Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Circalittoral rockStructure: species composition of component communitiesMaintain the species composition of component communities.N/A

Species composition of communities includes a consideration of both the overall range of species present within the community, as well as their relative abundance. Species considered need not be restricted to sessile benthic species but could include mobile species associated with the benthos. Species composition could be altered by human activities without changing the overall community type. Within each component community, species composition and population structure should be taken into consideration to avoid diminishing biodiversity and affecting ecosystem functioning within the habitat (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).


Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsStructure: species composition of component communitiesMaintain the species composition of component communities.N/A

Species composition of communities includes a consideration of both the overall range of species present within the community, as well as their relative abundance. Species considered need not be restricted to sessile benthic species but could include mobile species associated with the benthos. Species composition could be altered by human activities without changing the overall community type. Within each component community, species composition and population structure should be taken into consideration to avoid diminishing biodiversity and affecting ecosystem functioning within the habitat (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).


Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockSupporting processes: energy / exposureMaintain the natural physical energy resulting from waves, tides and other water flows, so that the exposure [High / Medium] does not cause alteration to the biotopes, and stability, across the habitat.N/AThe amount of energy received across the site significantly affects the communities present. Physical energy can be received through wave energy and / or tidal flow, and can be altered through human activity. Any such alterations to energy should be avoided (Hiscock et al., 2006).
Site-specifics:

The site is in an exposed position, with a prevailing westerly wind direction and wind speeds exceeding 3.5 metres/second for 75% of the time. The site is exposed to swells moving in from the Atlantic and the steep gradient of the sea bed means that waves still contain large amounts of energy as they hit the coast. For 10% of the winter, waves exceed 4m at Land's End and offshore, and exceed 3m along the Cornish coast (BGS, 1996).

The tidal range at Land's End is approximately 5m during spring tides and tidal currents reach a maximum of 2 knots (BGS, 1996).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsSupporting processes: energy / exposureMaintain the natural physical energy resulting from waves, tides and other water flows, so that the exposure [High / Medium] does not cause alteration to the biotopes, and stability, across the habitat.N/AThe amount of energy received across the site significantly affects the communities present. Physical energy can be received through wave energy and / or tidal flow, and can be altered through human activity. Any such alterations to energy should be avoided (Hiscock et al., 2006).
Site-specifics:

The site is in an exposed position, with a prevailing westerly wind direction and wind speeds exceeding 3.5 metres/second for 75% of the time. The site is exposed to swells moving in from the Atlantic and the steep gradient of the sea bed means that waves still contain large amounts of energy as they hit the coast. For 10% of the winter, waves exceed 4m at Land's End and offshore, and exceed 3m along the Cornish coast (BGS, 1996).

The tidal range at Land's End is approximately 5m during spring tides and tidal currents reach a maximum of 2 knots (BGS, 1996).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Circalittoral rockSupporting processes: energy / exposureMaintain the natural physical energy resulting from waves, tides and other water flows, so that the exposure [High / Medium] does not cause alteration to the biotopes, and stability, across the habitat.N/AThe amount of energy received across the site significantly affects the communities present. Physical energy can be received through wave energy and tidal flow, and can be altered through human activity. Any such alterations to energy should be avoided (Hiscock et al., 2006).
Site-specifics:

The site is in an exposed position, with a prevailing westerly wind direction and wind speeds exceeding 3.5 metres/second for 75% of the time. The site is exposed to swells moving in from the Atlantic and the steep gradient of the sea bed means that waves still contain large amounts of energy as they hit the coast. For 10% of the winter, waves exceed 4m at Land's End and offshore, and exceed 3m along the Cornish coast (BGS, 1996).

The tidal range at Land's End is approximately 5m during spring tides and tidal currents reach a maximum of 2 knots (BGS, 1996).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Circalittoral rockSupporting processes: physico-chemical propertiesMaintain the natural physico-chemical properties of the water.N/AThe physico-chemical properties that influence habitats include salinity, pH and temperature. They can act alone or in combination to affect habitats and their communities in different ways, depending on species-specific tolerances. In coastal habitats they can vary widely and can influence the abundance, distribution and composition of communities at relatively local scales. Changes in any of these properties, as a result of human activities, may impact habitats and the communities they support (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:

There is no significant freshwater runoff from the land and the site is considered to have full marine salinity (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011).

Water temperature in the area is affected by the Gulf Stream and the Lusitanian current, bringing warmer water to the site (Irving, 1996).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsSupporting processes: physico-chemical propertiesMaintain the natural physico-chemical properties of the water.N/AThe physico-chemical properties that influence habitats include salinity, pH and temperature. They can act alone or in combination to affect habitats and their communities in different ways, depending on species-specific tolerances. In coastal habitats they can vary widely and can influence the abundance, distribution and composition of communities at relatively local scales. Changes in any of these properties, as a result of human activities, may impact habitats and the communities they support (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:

There is no significant freshwater runoff from the land and the site is considered to have full marine salinity (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011).

Water temperature in the area is affected by the Gulf Stream and the Lusitanian current, bringing warmer water to the site (Irving, 1996).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockSupporting processes: physico-chemical propertiesMaintain the natural physico-chemical properties of the water.N/AThe physico-chemical properties that influence habitats include salinity, pH and temperature. They can act alone or in combination to affect habitats and their communities in different ways, depending on species-specific tolerances. In coastal habitats they can vary widely and can influence the abundance, distribution and composition of communities at relatively local scales. Changes in any of these properties, as a result of human activities, may impact habitats and the communities they support (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:

There is no significant freshwater runoff from the land and the site is considered to have full marine salinity (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011).

Water temperature in the area is affected by the Gulf Stream and the Lusitanian current, bringing warmer water to the site (Irving, 1996).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockSupporting processes: sedimentation rateMaintain the natural rate of sediment deposition.N/AThe rate at which sediment is deposited is known to influence the status of reef habitats and / or their associated communities. Sedimentation on reef habitats can influence community composition, alter species growth rates and potentially affect reproductive success, reducing larval recruitment. This target has been included to minimise the risk of smothering to the habitat (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:

Sand and gravel transport in the area is not subject to strong littoral drift, however seasonally there is strong movement of sediment onshore and offshore due to wave action (BGS, 1996).

The strong sediment movement is reflected by the presence of sediment-affected rock communities e.g IR.HIR.KSed (Axelsson and Dewey, 2011). These are subject to abrasion by sediment/sand scour and movement of the substrate, with scour-tolerant and opportunistic kelps and foliose seaweeds dominating.


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsSupporting processes: sedimentation rateMaintain the natural rate of sediment deposition.N/AThe rate at which sediment is deposited is known to influence the status of reef habitats and / or their associated communities. Sedimentation on reef habitats can influence community composition, alter species growth rates and potentially affect reproductive success, reducing larval recruitment. This target has been included to minimise the risk of smothering to the habitat (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:

Sand and gravel transport in the site is not subject to strong littoral drift, however seasonally there is strong movement of sediment onshore and offshore due to wave action (BGS, 1996).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Circalittoral rockSupporting processes: sedimentation rateMaintain the natural rate of sediment deposition.N/AThe rate at which sediment is deposited is known to influence the status of reef habitats and / or their associated communities. Sedimentation on reef habitats can influence community composition, alter species growth rates and potentially affect reproductive success, reducing larval recruitment. This target has been included to minimise the risk of smothering to the habitat (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:

Sand and gravel transport in the site is not subject to strong littoral drift, however seasonally there is strong movement of sediment onshore and offshore due to wave action(BGS, 1996).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Circalittoral rockSupporting processes: water quality - contaminantsRestrict aqueous contaminants to levels equating to (High / Good) Status (according to Annex VIII and X of the Water Framework Directive), avoiding deterioration from existing levelsN/AContaminants may impact the ecology of the Marine Protected Area by having a range of biological effects on different species within the habitat, depending on the nature of the contaminant (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004), (UK Technical Advisory Group on the Water Framework Directive (UKTAG), 2008), (Environment Agency, 2014).
Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsSupporting processes: water quality - contaminantsRestrict aqueous contaminants to levels equating to (High / Good) Status (according to Annex VIII and X of the Water Framework Directive), avoiding deterioration from existing levelsN/AContaminants may impact the ecology of the Marine Protected Area by having a range of biological effects on different species within the habitat, depending on the nature of the contaminant (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004), (UK Technical Advisory Group on the Water Framework Directive (UKTAG), 2008), (Environment Agency, 2014).
Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockSupporting processes: water quality - contaminantsRestrict aqueous contaminants to levels equating to (High / Good) Status (according to Annex VIII and X of the Water Framework Directive), avoiding deterioration from existing levelsN/AContaminants may impact the ecology of the Marine Protected Area by having a range of biological effects on different species within the habitat, depending on the nature of the contaminant (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004), (UK Technical Advisory Group on the Water Framework Directive (UKTAG), 2008), (Environment Agency, 2014).
Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockSupporting processes: water quality - dissolved oxygenMaintain the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration at levels equating to High Ecological Status (specifically ≥ 5.7 mg per litre (at 35 salinity) for 95 % of the year), avoiding deterioration from existing levels.N/ADissolved Oxygen (DO) levels affect the condition and health of features. Excessive nutrients and / or high turbidity can lead to a drop in DO, especially in warmer months. Low DO can have sub-lethal and lethal impacts on fish and infauna and epifauna communities (Best et al., 2007). However, there’s a significant amount of natural variation that needs to be considered (Environment Agency Marine Monitoring Service, 2014).
Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsSupporting processes: water quality - dissolved oxygenMaintain the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration at levels equating to High Ecological Status (specifically ≥ 5.7 mg per litre (at 35 salinity) for 95 % of the year), avoiding deterioration from existing levels.N/ADissolved Oxygen (DO) levels affect the condition and health of features. Excessive nutrients and / or high turbidity can lead to a drop in DO, especially in warmer months. Low DO can have sub-lethal and lethal impacts on fish and infauna and epifauna communities (Best et al., 2007). However, there’s a significant amount of natural variation that needs to be considered (Environment Agency Marine Monitoring Service, 2014).
Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Circalittoral rockSupporting processes: water quality - dissolved oxygenMaintain the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration at levels equating to High Ecological Status (specifically ≥ 5.7 mg per litre (at 35 salinity) for 95 % of the year), avoiding deterioration from existing levels.N/ADissolved Oxygen (DO) levels affect the condition and health of features. Excessive nutrients and / or high turbidity can lead to a drop in DO, especially in warmer months. Low DO can have sub-lethal and lethal impacts on fish and infauna and epifauna communities (Best et al., 2007). However, there’s a significant amount of natural variation that needs to be considered (Environment Agency Marine Monitoring Service, 2014).
Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Circalittoral rockSupporting processes: water quality - nutrientsMaintain water quality and specifically mean winter dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) at a concentration equating to High Ecological Status (specifically mean winter DIN is < 12 µM for coastal waters), avoiding deterioration from existing levels.N/AHigh concentrations of nutrients in the water column can cause phytoplankton and opportunistic macroalgae blooms, leading to reduced dissolved oxygen availability. These seaweeds can smother the sediment, preventing aeration and causing anoxia (lack of oxygen). This can impact sensitive fish, epifauna and infauna communities. The aim is to seek no further deterioration or improve water quality (Devlin et al., 2007), (Best, 2014). (Hiscock et al., 2006)
Site-specifics:

The mean winter dissolved inorganic nutrient levels for the site have been assessed to be at background levels, with biological indicators of eutrophication (opportunistic macroalgal cover and phytoplankton communities) consistent with undisturbed conditions (i.e. opportunistic macroalgal cover is < 5 % with no entrainment).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsSupporting processes: water quality - nutrientsMaintain water quality and specifically mean winter dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) at a concentration equating to High Ecological Status (specifically mean winter DIN is < 12 µM for coastal waters), avoiding deterioration from existing levels.N/AHigh concentrations of nutrients in the water column can cause phytoplankton and opportunistic macroalgae blooms, leading to reduced dissolved oxygen availability. These seaweeds can smother the sediment, preventing aeration and causing anoxia (lack of oxygen). This can impact sensitive fish, epifauna and infauna communities. The aim is to seek no further deterioration or improve water quality (Devlin et al., 2007), (Best, 2014).
Site-specifics:

The mean winter dissolved inorganic nutrient levels for the site have been assessed to be at background levels, with biological indicators of eutrophication (opportunistic macroalgal cover and phytoplankton communities) consistent with undisturbed conditions (i.e. opportunistic macroalgal cover is < 5 % with no entrainment).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockSupporting processes: water quality - nutrientsMaintain water quality and specifically mean winter dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) at a concentration equating to High Ecological Status (specifically mean winter DIN is < 12 µM for coastal waters), avoiding deterioration from existing levels.N/AHigh concentrations of nutrients in the water column can cause phytoplankton and opportunistic macroalgae blooms, leading to reduced dissolved oxygen availability. These seaweeds can smother the sediment, preventing aeration and causing anoxia (lack of oxygen). This can impact sensitive fish, epifauna and infauna communities. The aim is to seek no further deterioration or improve water quality (Devlin et al., 2007), (Best, 2014).
Site-specifics:

The mean winter dissolved inorganic nutrient levels for the site have been assessed to be at background levels, with biological indicators of eutrophication (opportunistic macroalgal cover and phytoplankton communities) consistent with undisturbed conditions (i.e. opportunistic macroalgal cover is < 5 % with no entrainment).


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Infralittoral rockSupporting processes: water quality - turbidityMaintain natural levels of turbidity (eg concentrations of suspended sediment, plankton and other material) across the habitat.N/AWater turbidity is a result of material suspended in the water, including sediment, plankton, pollution or other matter washed into the sea from land sources. In coastal environments turbidity levels can rise and fall rapidly as a result of biological (eg plankton blooms), physical (eg storm events) or human (eg coastal development) factors. Prolonged changes in turbidity may influence the amount of light reaching the seabed, affecting the primary production and nutrient levels of the habitat’s associated communities. Changes in turbidity may also have a range of biological effects on different species within the habitat, eg affecting their abilities to feed or breathe (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

ReefsSupporting processes: water quality - turbidityMaintain natural levels of turbidity (eg concentrations of suspended sediment, plankton and other material) across the habitat.N/AWater turbidity is a result of material suspended in the water, including sediment, plankton, pollution or other matter washed into the sea from land sources. In coastal environments turbidity levels can rise and fall rapidly as a result of biological (eg plankton blooms), physical (eg storm events) or human (eg coastal development) factors. Prolonged changes in turbidity may influence the amount of light reaching the seabed, affecting the primary production and nutrient levels of the habitat’s associated communities. Changes in turbidity may also have a range of biological effects on different species within the habitat, eg affecting their abilities to feed or breathe (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

Circalittoral rockSupporting processes: water quality - turbidityMaintain natural levels of turbidity (eg concentrations of suspended sediment, plankton and other material) across the habitat.N/AWater turbidity is a result of material suspended in the water, including sediment, plankton, pollution or other matter washed into the sea from land sources. In coastal environments turbidity levels can rise and fall rapidly as a result of biological (eg plankton blooms), physical (eg storm events) or human (eg coastal development) factors. Prolonged changes in turbidity may influence the amount of light reaching the seabed, affecting the primary production and nutrient levels of the habitat’s associated communities. Changes in turbidity may also have a range of biological effects on different species within the habitat, eg affecting their abilities to feed or breathe (Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), 2004).
Site-specifics:


The target has been set using expert judgement based on knowledge of the sensitivity of the feature to activities that are occurring / have occurred on the site.

See further guidance on how to undertake an HRA for a plan or project on a European site.

These tables bring together the findings of the best available scientific evidence which may be updated or supplemented in further publications from Natural England and other sources. You may decide to use other additional sources of information.

These tables do not give advice about SSSI features or other legally protected species which may also be present within the European site.