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Protected area expanded to care for England's biggest seabird colony on Yorkshire coastline

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Thousands of puffins and other seabirds are set to benefit from the expansion of a protected area along the Yorkshire coastline.

PROTECTED AREA EXPANDED TO CARE FOR ENGLAND'S BIGGEST SEABIRD COLONY

The Flamborough Head and Filey Coast special protection area (SPA) is being extended by more than 7,600 hectares (18,800 acres) to better protect England's largest seabird colony.

The move will give a quarter of a million breeding birds including gannets, razorbills and almost 2,000 puffins better protection and a safe space for feeding and foraging, the Government said.

Government conservation agency Natural England has also launched a consultation on plans to extend the nearby Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast SPA by nearly 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres).

This would help protect populations of breeding little terns and common terns.

Special protection areas are designated under the European Union's Birds Directive, which requires countries to protect habitats for rare, vulnerable and migratory birds.

The Withdrawal Bill will make sure environmental rules including marine protected areas set up under EU Directives will continue to be protected under UK law, officials said.

The announcement comes during National Marine Week.

Environment minister Therese Coffey said: "We are a world leader in protecting our marine environment, with a third of our waters already protected as part of our Blue Belt.

"National Marine Week is a fantastic opportunity for us all to celebrate the diverse range of habitats which make up the British coastline, and the role we all have to play in protecting these.

"These new safeguards for seabirds will help our most precious and iconic wildlife to thrive, and protect our marine environment for future generations to enjoy."