Technical advice for English wetlands World Heritage Site nomination

Application support for the East Atlantic Flyway to be included on the WHS UK Tentative List

The East Atlantic Flyway is an expanse of coastal wetlands that runs along England’s east coast, from the Thames to the Humber. It includes a nearly contiguous complex of ecologically connected coastal wetlands that are remarkable, globally important and immensely diverse.

The area is also a significant global exemplar of coastal adaptation and nature conservation management in the face of a changing climate. It has world-leading examples of coastal adaptation projects achieving multiple public benefits including flood protection, habitat restoration, recreation, well-being, tourism, fisheries, water quality, and carbon storage.

In recognition of the coastline’s global value, a partnership of organisations – the RSPB, National Trust and Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust – was formed to explore its suitability for nomination as a Natural World Heritage Site. This was endorsed by local authorities and The Crown Estate.

ABPmer was commissioned to provide technical advice and prepare the application to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). We provided information on the social and economic values, and ecological benefits, as well as mapping and visual data presentation to assist with communication, partnership building and promoting the proposed nomination to stakeholders.

An independent expert panel, coordinated by DCMS, recognised the application as an “interesting and ambitious natural heritage proposal” that delivered “a clear and convincing case for the potential to demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value”, both due to the global value for migratory birds using the flyway, and the opportunities the coastline provides “for the UK to develop and demonstrate best practice for coastal adaptation in a changing environment.”

‘East Atlantic Flyway – England East Coast Wetlands’ was added to the UK’s Tentative List of potential World Heritage sites by DCMS in April 2023. This enables a full proposal to be developed, alongside local communities and conservation organisations, for the site to join the UNESCO World Heritage List.

A leading specialist in marine and coastal habitat creation, ABPmer helps governments and organisations realise initiatives to redress biodiversity decline, offset habitat loss and improve the resilience of coastlines through proven adaptation methods, including managed realignment, sediment beneficial use, and reef formation.

Ready to speak to one of our specialists? Get in touch.


Learn about completed habitat creation schemes

On our dedicated habitat creation and restoration website, we share information on implemented schemes around the UK and beyond

Explore database