Calls to protect sea and wildlife at Beachy Head

Moves to protect the sea and its special wildlife around Beachy Head are being backed by Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell.

Tuesday, 13th December 2016, 1:59 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 2:17 pm
The low tide which allowed 900 people to walk around the Beachy Head lighthouse. Picture by Eddie Mitchell SUS-160407-105342001

Mrs Ansell is giving her support to the Marine Conservation Society’s call for a new Marine Conservation Zone at Beachy Head East.

The underwater nature reserve, right next to the famous landmark, will help safeguard important habitats which are home to some unusual animals such as the short-snouted seahorse and native oyster, says the charity.

She said, “I am delighted to support this campaign to call for a new protected area at Beachy Head.

“This vital site touches my constituency and includes the Royal Sovereign Shoals, an extensive wildlife-rich sandstone reef. It is crucial our local seas receive greater protection.

Next summer, the government will consult on a final round of Marine Conservation Zone designations. This is our last chance to ensure this area is properly looked after. I urge the government to include this site in their consultation.”

In January 2013, the government created a new Marine Conservation Zone around Beachy Head – known as Beachy Head West. Many people have raised concerns that this site alone will not fully protect all the unique features that exist in this area.

They say that an additional proposed site called Beachy Head East is desperately needed.

Rachel Alcock, senior campaigner at the Marine Conservation Society said, “We must protect the rocky environment at Beachy Head East as, sadly, this type of habitat is not currently receiving much protection elsewhere in this region.

“The blue mussel beds found in this area are very important too. They are considered to be one of the best examples of this habitat in the south east.

“Mussels not only help with water quality, they make much needed meals for seabirds which live here as well. Kittiwakes, black-headed gulls and common terns breed in the area.”

Last month, the government’s scientific advisors revealed proposals on where a final set of Marine Conservation Zones could be located around England.

Beachy Head East was one of the sites included and is being recommended for consideration by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The society said that together with Mrs Ansell, it is determined to show Defra that the need to protect this site is a no-brainer.