The coastline around Beachy Head has been designated a conservation zone.
Six areas in the south east have been named: Beachy Head West, Medway Estuary, Thanet Coast and Folkestone Pomerania in Kent and Kingmere and Pagham Harbour in West Sussex.
The news, announced by George Eustic, Minister for Farming, Food and Marine Environment, comes after a four-year process following the introduction of the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) to ensure greater protection for our marine wildlife and natural treasures.
They have been designated for important features including the sub-tidal chalk, sand and mud habitats, blue mussel beds and fragile sponge communities.
Beachy Head West site is one of only a few that are home to the short snouted seahorse – and further along the coast is the Seaford kittiwake colony.
It was one of 27 areas in the country designated by the Government in a bid to help protect the rich marine biodiversity.
Alison Giacomelli, RSPB south east conservation officer, said, “This region has a coast which is rich in marine wildlife sites and spectacles.
“ For too long these treasures have not received the protection they deserve.
“We’re delighted that this announcement begins to ensure marine protection for our undervalued marine wildlife, but we have a long way to go before we achieve a network of sites which adequately represents the breadth and biological importance of our marine wildlife.
“In particular, we urgently need the important sites for seabirds designated.”
The announcement of the designations comes after the publication of the latest Nature Check report, an assessment of the Coalition Government’s progress against its commitments to the natural environment in England.
• To find out more about the RSPB’s work on protecting the marine environment, go to the link: http://www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/policy/marine/ index.aspx