Outer Thames Estuary SPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site has been established to protect the red-throated divers, common terns and little terns that live here.  An extension to this site is currently being considered that would mean more protection for the areas where these birds feed. 

MPA Type

Special Protection Area

Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are strictly protected sites designated uner European legislation. They are established to protect rare and vulnerable birds and for regularly occurring migratory species.

Designation date

1 August 2010

Surface Area

3,795.59 km2 (1,465.48 mi.2)


778.97 km (484.03 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

51° 55' 1" North, 1° 32' 46" East

  • Red-throated diver (Gavia stellata)

    The smallest of Scotland’s diver species. Typically breeds on inland water bodies in open moorland or blanket bog landscapes. Feeds on a mix of freshwater and marine prey, mainly fish.

  • Marine areas, Sea inlets

Did you know?…

An area over 9 times the size of Wales is now in marine protected areas in the UK, but less than 1% is considered by MCS scientists to be well managed

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’