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Special Areas of Conservation

Firth of Tay and Eden Estuary

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Eastern Scotland, Extra-Regio
Centroid* NO420294
Latitude 56.36666667
Longitude -2.95
SAC EU Code UK0030311
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 15441.63
* 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 Firth of Tay and Eden Estuary SAC

General site character

  • Marine areas, Sea inlets (55.1%)
  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins) (27.7%)
  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes (1.2%)
  • Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (8%)
  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (2%)
  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (6%)

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 Firth of Tay and the Eden estuary are two high-quality estuarine areas. The two estuaries have been proposed within a single site because they are integral components of a large, geomorphologically complex area that incorporates a mosaic of estuarine and coastal habitats. The Tay is the least-modified of the large east coast estuaries in Scotland, while the Eden estuary represents a smaller ‘pocket’ estuary. The inner parts of the estuaries are largely sheltered from wave action, while outer areas, particularly of the Tay, are exposed to strong tidal streams, giving rise to a complex pattern of erosion and deposition of the sandbank feature at the firths’ mouth. The sediments within the site support biotopes that reflect the gradients of exposure and salinity, and are typical of estuaries on the east coast of the UK. The abundance, distribution and composition of the associated plant and animal communities are ecologically representative of northern North Sea estuaries.

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

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

  • 1365 Harbour seal Phoca vitulina

    The Firth of Tay & Eden Estuary supports a nationally important breeding colony of Harbour seal Phoca vitulina, part of the east coast population of common seals that typically utilise sandbanks. Around 600 adults haul-out at the site to rest, pup and moult, representing around 2% of the UK population of this species.

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.