Consultation on Proposed Changes to Grassholm Special Protection Area (SPA)

The existing SPA is a remote offshore island about 10 miles west of the mainland coast of Pembrokeshire in south-west Wales, which supports breeding gannets

The consultation is now closed:

Natural Resources Wales is in the process of considering and responding to the representations we have received. We will collate the consultation responses and present these to the Welsh Government. A summary of responses made to Natural Resources Wales will be made publicly available on the website in due course.

How will I find out about the decision?

The final decision will be made by the Welsh Minister for Natural Resources and Food on whether to make the changes to the SPAs. Natural Resources Wales will write to stakeholders, including those who have made representations, to inform them of the Minister’s decision and update the information on our website.

Existing Special Protection Area (SPA)

It is the third largest Atlantic gannet colony in the world (behind St Kilda and Bass Rock).

For additional information on the existing site please see the Natural Resources Wales Grassholm SPA web page with the existing map and Register of European Sites Entry which lists the birds the site protects.

Proposed Changes to site

Formal advice to the UK government in a report known as the ‘2001 SPA review’ (Stroud et al. 2001) proposes changes to the qualifying features in recognition of the increase in the numbers of gannet.

The 2001 SPA review itself does not recommend any boundary changes for this species, however, the proposed seaward extension was identified from an analysis of data from various reports and surveys, which show the birds make much use of these waters and depend on the area for ‘loafing’.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) issued guidance on how far extensions should be made into the marine environment, depending on which breeding birds are present and recommend an extension of the boundary of the SPA to include adjacent areas that are used by gannets from within the existing SPA. The proposed boundary extension recommended by JNCC is 2 km.

The proposed boundary extension to Grassholm SPA is therefore for 2km extension seawards around the island from the existing site boundary.

If you would like further information about the site please contact the local officer Andrea Winterton at Natural Resources Wales, address or contact the Customer Care Centre at Natural Resources Wales on 0300 065 3000

Drop-In Session

We realise you may have further questions and you are welcome to attend a drop-in session arranged by Natural Resources Wales to discuss face-to-face any queries you may have.

Grassholm SPA
Local Authority: Pembrokeshire
Date and Time: Wednesday, 19 February 2014 - From 13:30 to 20:00
Venue: St David's City Hall, High Street, St Davids, Pembrokeshire, SA62 6SD
Area Contacts: Andrea Winterton /Alex Harding - Tel. 0300 065 3000
Regional office: Natural Resources Wales, Pembroke Dock, Llanion House, Llanion Park, Pembroke Dock, SA72 6DY

How to respond

An anonymised summary of responses received will be published on the Natural Resources Wales website after the end of the consultation period.

Please be aware that we may receive a request for a copy of the full consultation response report under the Freedom of Information Act or the Environmental Information Regulations and we may be asked to provide copies of individual responses, including the names and addresses of persons or organisations sending them. In such cases we have to decide whether to release that information or not, and if someone has asked for their name and address to be withheld we can take that into account in deciding whether to release that information.

Further information see Natural Resources Wales Freedom of Information policy.

Please send the Consultation Response Form by:


Email responses can be made by midnight 25 April 2014, with attachments, if required, up to a maximum of 20mb.


International Sites Team
Natural Resources Wales
LL57 2DW

Potential changes to Other SPAs in Wales

  • Aberdaron Coast and Bardsey Island
  • Skokholm and Skomer