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What are we protecting?

The Designated Habitat sites (Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation and Ramsar sites) were designated primarily to protect these waders and wildfowl, many of which travel thousands of miles to over-winter on the estuaries. The additional population from the building of new homes will mean an increase in recreational activity on the estuaries, heathland and at the coast. Recreational activity such as people walking, cycling and jogging, and the presence of dogs, often disturbs the birds. Disturbance reduces the birds' opportunities to feed which can mean they have insufficient energy to survive the winter or to complete their migratory journey to their breeding sites, leading to a reduction in the bird population.