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Special Areas of Conservation

Yell Sound Coast

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Extra-Regio, Highlands and Islands
Centroid* HU467755
Latitude 60.46111111
Longitude -1.15
SAC EU Code UK0012687
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 1544.44
* This is the approximate central point of the SAC. In the case of large, linear or composite sites, this may not represent the location where a feature occurs within the SAC.
Location of Yell Sound Coast SAC

General site character

  • Marine areas, Sea inlets (30%)
  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins) (1%)
  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes (1%)
  • Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (1%)
  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (15%)
  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (2%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (20%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (10%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (5%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (5%)
  • Improved grassland (10%)

Download the Standard Data Form for this site as submitted to Europe (PDF <100kb)

Note When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Not Applicable

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Not Applicable

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • 1355 Otter Lutra lutra

    The otter Lutra lutra population in Shetland is one of the most intensively-studied in Europe. Not only are the Shetland animals morphologically distinct from their mainland counterparts, they are also believed to be genetically distinct. In addition, specialists consider that the populations are possibly the densest in Europe. Therefore, the Shetland population is in many ways unique, and is considered of special importance in a UK context. Within Shetland, the Yell Sound area has the highest density of otter. Indeed the site is believed to support more than 2% of the entire GB otter population. The site consists of a complex of islands and coastline, selected to include the areas of highest otter density. The areas are characterised by low-lying peaty coastlines with large numbers of otter holts and easy access to fresh water. The adjacent marine areas have extensive algal beds which are used for foraging.

  • 1365 Harbour seal Phoca vitulina

    Yell Sound Coast in the Shetland Islands is the most northerly UK site selected for the Harbour seal Phoca vitulina. The rocky shores and uninhabited islands and skerries within Yell Sound support a colony representing over 1% of the UK population.

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

  • Not Applicable

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.