PLANS to protect some of England's rarest seabirds will be announced today by the government's Environment Minister.

In an announcement today, special protection areas will be extended in Middlesbrough in a bid to protect rare and vulnerable seabirds from human activity, such as fishing or outdoor recreation.

Close to 1,000 pairs of three species of tern are anticipated to benefit from the extension of the Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast SPA 09 km2, bringing the total area size to more than 122 km2, which equals more than 17,000 football pitches.

  • Barn owls, ancient woodland and public projects among those to be 'seriously impacted' by HS2

With the extension in place, more than 35,000 individual birds such as pied avocet, ruff and migratory red knot will be protected.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “As the devastating impacts of climate change are only too visible, it is vital that we take decisive steps now that make a real difference to help protect our wildlife and allow vulnerable species to recover.

“We have already protected important nesting sites for seabirds, and these additional protections to their feeding grounds, together with the development of a new strategy to protect our seabirds, will help the coastal environment recover, develop and, importantly, thrive.”

Martin Harper, Director, Global Conservation, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said:

“Many seabird species are declining at an alarming rate, both globally and across the UK. We welcome today’s announcement by the government to reverse these declines through a comprehensive Seabird Conservation Strategy.

“It will be a first step in tackling this growing problem and is something that the RSPB has been calling for. We look forward to working with the UK Government to make sure that these islands remain globally important for seabirds.”