Beachy Head West MCZ

Beachy Head West was designated within the first tranche of MCZ sites in November 2013. The site stretches along the coastline from Brighton Marina to Beachy Head, with a gap at Newhaven. It extends half a nautical mile seaward from the mean high water line, covering approximately 24 square kilometres. This area includes the Heritage Coast within the South Downs National Park, the eastern half of the Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere (the Living Coast) and part of the Seven Sisters Voluntary Marine Conservation Area.

One of the main reasons for site designation is the extensive intertidal wave cut chalk platforms and subtidal chalk ridges, which are among the best examples of marine chalk habitat in the south-east. In a European context, the UK is very important, with over half of Europe’s coastal chalk recorded in the southern and eastern coasts of England. Chalk reef is a fragile and rare marine habitat which supports abundant wildlife, including rare and threatened species such as blue mussel beds and native oysters. The site also contains rare short-snouted seahorses and is known to be a key nursery and spawning ground for several fish species.

Defra information, including MCZ factsheet and designation order with site boundary coordinates


Beachy Head West Management

An MPA Byelaw with an associated Beachy Head West MCZ Schedule is now in force

The MPA byelaw can be found here. This is the over-arching MPA byelaw with Schedule one for Kingmere MCZ and Schedule two for Beachy Head West MCZ.

Additional guidance on the byelaw specific to Beachy Head West can be found here.

Additional navigational guidance for fishers can be found here.

And a summary leaflet on the management can be found here. This is designed to be printed on A4 and folded in half.

The associated Beachy Head West Schedule Impact Assessment can be found here.

Sussex IFCA has introduced a combination of both voluntary measures and regulation of commercial and recreational fishing that promotes compliance and support from the community, whilst meeting the conservation requirements of Beachy Head West MCZ. The supporting voluntary code of conduct promotes good practice and aims to enhance the conservation outcomes for the site.

Voluntary code of conduct proposals for commercial and recreational fishers can be found here.

The management of our fisheries within these sites will make a vital contribution to the ‘blue belt’ around the English Coast; an ecologically coherent, well-managed, network of MPAs. 

For additional information about the site, follow the links below:

Natural Englands Conservation advice:

Defras designation order:

Sussex Wildlife Trust:


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