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Marine Landscape Classification of UK Regional Seas - WC04011

To provide the marine equivalent of a ‘countryside map’ of the seabed by extending the marine landscape classification undertaken by the Irish Sea Pilot to other regional seas in UK waters (subject to agreement of devolved administrations). It will identify the physical and ecological characteristics, area and distribution of the marine landscapes in UK regional seas.

The pilot has demonstrated that this classification is both possible and valuable to planners and managers working in the marine environment. The pilot has concluded that the information generated is fundamental to spatial planning and management of the sea. Mapping the landscape types will contribute to our understanding of the distribution of biodiversity, habitats and natural resources including commercial species, aggregates, oil and gas. The classification and mapping of marine landscapes allows us for the first time to obtain at reasonable cost, a robust description of the marine environment which gives us a backdrop against which planning and management decisions can be made.

A marine landscape classification is essential to help overcome the natural scepticism about spatial planning in the marine environment. Up to now it has been considered impractical on the grounds of cost and technical competence to obtain a description of the marine environment at this scale. This classification approach is expected to contribute strongly to building a consensus that marine spatial planning from the coast to the shelf edge is possible and necessary to deliver international obligations under EU measures such as Natura 2000 and WFD, and international conventions such as BDC, OSPAR and WSSD.

A component of the research will promote the classification approach in Europe and Internationally to encourage its adoption in the seas of other states and the wider oceans
Project Documents
• Final Report : UKSeaMap: The mapping of seabed and water column features of UK seas   (3620k)
• Executive Summary : UKSeaMap: The mapping of seabed and water column features of UK seas   (51k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2006

Cost: £100,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Environmental Protection              
Marine conservation              
Nature conservation              
Fields of Study
Wildlife Conservation