A stretch of Marine Drive has been designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) to protect the habitats and animals who live there.

Numerous species including peregrine falcons, raven, chough and fulmar, use the steep rocky cliffs and diverse coastal grassland, heath and scrub to live and feed.

Peter Christian @manxmannin

In total, the new ASSI covers around 82 hectares and runs for around three miles between Douglas Head lighthouse and Port Soderick. It is the 23rd ASSI to be designated on the island, with other areas including carbon storing upland peat, woodlands and sand dunes.

The latest decision to add Marine Drive, which is used by people exercising and watching wildlife, to the list was confirmed following a three-month consultation.

Geoffrey Boot, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘We are happy to confirm Marine Drive as our newest ASSI – offering greater protection to this biodiverse stretch of coastline and its rich habitat. The best way of protecting our plants and animals is to protect the land, the freshwater and the seas where they live. The Department will continue to work hard so that the island’s most important areas are protected and managed to form a network of natural areas that are capable of supporting our plants, animals and geological heritage into the future.’

What Is an AII?

Areas with a special fauna, flora, or geological or physiographical features in the context of the Isle of Man, may be designated as Areas of Special Scientific Interest. This can cover land above or within the intertidal areas but not subtidal sites. It sets up a procedure which is clearly laid out in the Wildlife Act, and by which land owners or occupiers consult the department before taking actions that could affect the interest of a site.

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