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Benfleet and Southend Marshes Current Conservation Status

The UK Government has a duty to report to the European Union at 6 yearly intervals on the condition of SPAs in the UK.  As part of this reporting, the Government is required to carry out monitoring of the features listed in the favourable conditions tables.

At the time of publishing this site, no condition assessment was available for the Benfleet and Southend Marshes SPA or Ramsar site.  However, a condition assessment for the Benfleet and Southend Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) was carried out by Natural England (then English Nature) on the 1st November 2005.  Although this is for the SSSI and not the SPA, it is considered to be relevant as the boundaries of both sites are very similar, and they share some of the same interest features as noted for in both designations.  For example, the SSSI is also designated for the habitats which support the nationally and internationally important numbers of wildfowl and waders.

The Benfleet and Southend Marshes SSSI is made up of five management units.  For each of these units Natural England has assessed their condition according to a number of criteria, and assigned the terms presented below to the area.  The full results of the condition assessments for the units are available from Natural England, and a summary of the site as a whole is also shown below.  In general, this area is in an unfavourable condition and not recovering (94.74%), and an area of only 5.2% is reaching the required management targets.  The main issues potentially affecting the condition of the site were coastal squeeze against the sea defences, public access/disturbance, water pollution and discharge.  For example, management area 1 within this site was confirmed as having eroding saltmarsh and a foreshore subject to coastal squeeze, though this is being addressed strategically through CHAMPs/SMPs (Coastal Habitat Management Plans/Shoreline Management Plans) and other national policy interventions.

Benfleet and Southend Marshes SSSI condition summary (1 November 2005)

% area meeting PSA target

% area favourable

% area unfavourable recovering

% area unfavourable no change

% area unfavourable declining

% area destroyed/ part destroyed








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