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Special Areas of Conservation

Humber Estuary

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England
Unitary Authority East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire, Extra-Regio, Lincolnshire
Centroid* SE838110
Latitude 53.58916667
Longitude -0.734722222
SAC EU Code UK0030170
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 36657.15
* 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 Humber Estuary SAC

General site character

  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins) (94.9%)
  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes (4.4%)
  • Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (0.4%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (0.4%)

Download the Natura 2000 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

  • 1130 Estuaries

    The Humber is the second-largest coastal plain estuary in the UK, and the largest coastal plain estuary on the east coast of Britain. It is a muddy, macro-tidal estuary, fed by the Rivers Ouse, Trent and Hull, Ancholme and Graveney. Suspended sediment concentrations are high, and are derived from a variety of sources, including marine sediments and eroding boulder clay along the Holderness coast. This is the northernmost of the English east coast estuaries whose structure and function is intimately linked with soft eroding shorelines. Habitats within the Humber Estuary include 1330 Atlantic salt meadows and a range of sand dune types in the outer estuary, together with subtidal sandbanks (H1110 Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time), extensive intertidal mudflats (H1140 Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide), glasswort beds (H1310 Salicornia and other annuals colonising mud and sand), and 1150 coastal lagoons. As salinity declines upstream, reedbeds and brackish saltmarsh communities fringe the estuary. These are best-represented at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Trent at Blacktoft Sands. Upstream from the Humber Bridge, the navigation channel undergoes major shifts from north to south banks, for reasons that have yet to be fully explained. This section of the estuary is also noteworthy for extensive mud and sand bars, which in places form semi-permanent islands. Significant fish species include 1099 river lamprey Lampetra fluviatilis and 1095 sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus which breed in the River Derwent, a tributary of the River Ouse.

  • the Humber Estuary includes extensive intertidal mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide. Upstream from the Humber Bridge, extensive mud and sand bars in places form semi-permanent islands.

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

  • Not Applicable

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

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