England

Solent coast birds could be protected by special status

Solent Image copyright Charlotte Russell
Image caption The government will have the final decision on whether the protection will be granted to the Solent and Dorset coast

An area of the south coast of England could have special protection to preserve "important" wildlife.

Natural England is starting a public consultation on whether the Solent and parts of the Dorset coast should be a special protection area.

The area, stretching from Worbarrow Bary to Middleton-on-Sea in West Sussex, supports three types of terns.

Sandwich, common and little terns arrive in April and spend the summer feeding on fish, Natural England said.

The organisation said they were "important populations".

Natural England is collecting information about the likely economic, environmental and social impact of the proposed area from members of the public until 21 April.

The area was recommended for the status by the European Commission's birds directive and the government will decide whether the status would be granted.

In Special Protection Areas the government has an obligation to prevent the deterioration of the sites and to undertake assessments for any potentially harmful development.

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