Foreland MCZ

Status: Proposed


Site overview

This extensive offshore site lies mid-channel between Dover and Calais, stretching under the ferry crossing and over the Channel Tunnel! Offshore Foreland includes deeply gouged channels of rocky habitats through to extensive sandy seabed. These unassuming habitats are vital homes for a wealth of worms, molluscs and crustaceans, which in turn provide food for the fish, including species we eat. This site would protect an important part of the food chain on which we ourselves depend.

There are very few sites that lie beyond 6nm and are properly protected in English seas. MCS believes this site should be considered for designation as a Highly Protected Marine Area where all human activities that negatively impact marine wildlife are prohibited.

MPA Type

Marine Conservation Zone

Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are designated under UK legislation (Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009) and have been established around England, Wales and Northern Ireland to contribute to the UK MPA network protect a range of nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology, and can be designated anywhere in English and Welsh territorial and UK offshore waters.

Surface Area

252.52 km2 (97.50 mi.2)


98.88 km (61.44 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

51° 7' 47" North, 1° 41' 15" East

  • Moderate energy circalittoral rock

    Deeper water rock, with some shelter from waves and currents.

  • Subtidal sand

    Sandy seascapes that can seem a bit like deserts, but can be full of life. Flat fish and sand eels camouflaged on the surface of the sand,worms and bivalves (with their paired, hinged shells) all live in places like these.

  • Subtidal coarse sediment

    Undersea beds of coarse sand, gravel and shingle. Most of the animals that live here, like bristleworms, sand mason worms, small shrimp-like animals, burrowing anemones, carpet shell clams and venus cockles, are found buried in the seabed – the safest pl

  • High energy circalittoral rock

    Rocky areas affected by strong waves or currents where the water depth means there is not enough sunlight so marine animal communities like sponges, sea firs and soft corals dominate and seaweeds are mostly absent.

  • English Channel Outburst Flood Features

    A seabed feature providing evidence of the catastrophic flooding which created the channel and permanently isolated Britain from mainland Europe.

Did you know?…

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns

Over 170 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum signed up to our Marine Charter calling for a network of ‘marine protected areas’ in UK Seas

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’