Nature designations

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


  • Two Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

  • A Special Protection Area (SPA)

  • A Wetland of International importance under the Ramsar convention (Ramsar Site) and

  • All covered as 'Sites of Special Scientific Interest' (SSSI) above Mean Low Water

  • Kent's largest National Nature Reserve - the 'Sandwich and Pegwell Bay NNR'

  •  A Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)


In 2013, a national 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 designations are now collectively known as the "North East Kent Marine Protected Area" (NEKMPA).   

Note: Previous to the MCZ designation, the international designations were collectively known as the 'North East Kent European marine site'.

These sites are 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.


Thanet Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

In addition to the international designations, the foreshore landowner (above mean low water) has an specific landowner/manager 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 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)