This website is no longer being updated. Please go to GOV.SCOT

Harbour Porpoise SACs

In May 2016, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) completed a Consultation on the proposed Inner Hebrides and the Minches Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for harbour porpoise. The consultation report is now publicly available on the SNH website. More information about the consultation, including details of the scientific case, are available on the SNH web pages.   

The Inner Hebrides and Minches SAC has been submitted to the European Commission as a candidate site. Five sites are currently also being considered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as potential SACs for harbour porpoise. Once these sites are designated it will determine whether there are enough SACs for harbour porpoise in UK waters.

Supporting Documents:

Harbour Porpoise SAC Selection Timeline:

October 2012
European Commission begins Pilot Case on lack of harbour porpoise SACs in UK waters
June 2013
European Commission issues letter of formal notice to the UK for lack of harbour porpoise SACs in UK waters
August 2013
UK responds to letter of formal notice from the European Commission
October 2014
UK Government receives reasoned opinion from the European Commission for not having harbour porpoise SACs
December 2014
In response to the reasoned opinion the UK commits to identifying and designating SACs for harbour porpoise
June 2015
SNH and JNCC submit advice to Scottish Ministers on four draft SACs in Scottish waters
December 2015
Following a review of the advice given by Marine Scotland Science, Scottish Ministers determine that the evidence was not robust enough
January 2016
rUK launches consultation on five harbour porpoise SAC proposals (see for details)
January 2016
A new Scottish site selection process begins involving Marine Scotland, SNH, JNCC, and external experts
March 2016
Joint advice from Marine Scotland Science, SNH and JNCC is provided to Scottish Ministers for a single site in the West Scotland management unit
March 2016
Scottish Ministers approve consultation on the Inner Hebrides and the Minches pSAC
September 2016
Scottish Ministers approve designation of the Inner Hebrides and Minches SAC for harbour porpoise and the site is submitted to the European Commission as a candidate site