Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

SACs are areas which have been given special protection under the European Union’s Habitats Directive. They provide increased protection to a variety of wild animals, plants and habitats and are a vital part of global efforts to conserve the world’s biodiversity. 

Title: Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

Status: Statutory – Designated SAC covers an area of 3065Ha

When designated: Designated in April 2005

Why designated: 

Lundy was designated as an SAC in recognition of the significance of its marine habitats and species. Lundy has a granite and slatereef system and has an outstanding representation of reef habitats in south-west England. There are a wide range of physical conditions around the island, such as wave action and tidal stream strength, as a result of differing degrees of on sheltered and exposed coasts and headlands. This range of physical conditions, combined with the site’s topographical variation, has resulted in the presence of an unusually diverse complex of marine habitats and associated communities within a small area.

What it means for Lundy: 

The reefs of Lundy extend well over 1 km offshore and drop steeply into deep water in some areas. The variety of habitats and associated species on the reefs is outstanding and includes, for example, a large number of seaweeds and many rare or unusual species, including Mediterranean-Atlantic species representing biogeographically distinct communities at, or very close to, their northern limit of distribution. In particular, fragile long-lived species, such as the soft coral Parerythropodium coralloides, pink sea-fan Eunicella verrucosa and a variety of erect branching sponges, are found in deep, sheltered conditions, particularly on the east coast of the island. All five British species of cup-coral are found here, including the scarlet and gold star coral Balanophyllia regia and the sunset cup-coral Leptopsammia pruvoti.

The specific SAC features for protection were identified as reefs, subtidal sandbanks, sea caves and Atlantic grey seals Halichoerus grypus. The boundary for the SAC follows that of the MCZ (previously Marine Nature Reserve) and fully encompasses the reef features for which the site has been selected on both the west and east coast.

Natural England is responsible for monitoring these SAC features and reporting on their condition in a 6-yearly cycle.