Nature designations

The NEKMPA (Thanet Coast) consists of many nature conservation designations: 


In 2013, the latest designation - Thanet Coast MCZ (Marine Conservation Zone) - was added, as part of progress towards a network of marine protected areas (Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009) - and the all the designations are now collectively known as the "North East Kent Marine Protected Area" (NEKMPA). (Note: Previously the international designations were collectively known as the 'North East Kent European marine site').

The NEKMPA is legally protected and the shore and sea has a management scheme which ensures that they are managed in a way that conserves their importance for wildlife. The citations for these designations (SAC; SPA and SSSIs) can be found in the Appendices of the Management Scheme 2001-6. This scheme's actions are reviewed and updated every 6 years.


The Habitats and Wild Birds Directives – What happens from 1 January 2021:

DEFRA Statement (following EU exit, 1 January 2021):    The legislation transposing the EU Habitats Directive and the Wild Birds Directive has been changed so that they continue to operate effectively from 1January 2021. This includes the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) in England and Wales, and the Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended). The changes have been made by the Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 . The changes ensure the strict protections afforded to sites, habitats and species, including wild birds, continue. Further information about the changes introduced by the amending regulations is available here. Most of these changes involved transferring functions from the European Commission to the appropriate authorities in England and Wales.  All other processes or terms in the 2017 Regulations remain unchanged and existing guidance is still relevant.


Thanet Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (Thanet Coast SSSI)

Most of the Thanet Coast is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (which is all above Mean Low Water) and the foreshore landowner has specific responsibilities and works to an agreement with Natural England on the management of the coastline for wildlife and habitats of the coast covered by the SSSI designation.  

Thanet Council is the main landowner & manager of the Thanet Coast SSSI and works to a Thanet Coast SSSI Site Management Statement (last reviewed May 2010). This statement allows the authority to undertake the general works stated, but anything else (new projects or work) requires specific Natural England's assent 


Some other key points


NEKEMS Map 1108 

2015 NEKMPA map (PDF, 501kb)

Thanet Coast (NEKMPA)

c/o Thanet District Council,

PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent CT9 1XZ
United Kingdom



Tony Child

Thanet Coast (NE Kent Marine Protected Area) Officer

Telephone: +44 (0) 1843 577672

(based in Manston Road Depot)