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2 Annex I Habitat within East Anglia ONE and the Offshore Cable Corridor


2.1 1 Conservation Status


S. spinulosa belongs to the polychaete family Sabellariidae. Organisms belonging to this family can form dense aggregations on the seabed by building tubes from sand particles, with dense aggregations of tubes potentially forming up to several metres across and up to 60cm in depth.


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S. spinulosa favours moderate to strong tidal flow in areas where fine sediment and organic material are present. In such conditions, dense colonies have the potential to form ‘biogenic’ reef structures, which support a rich diversity and abundant faunal communities by providing a stable habitat for the feeding and shelter or other organisms. S. spinulosa reef structures are comparatively rare and are most commonly encountered encrusting stones and shells and other areas of fixed substrata throughout the North Sea and English Channel.


3 Biogenic reefs are classed as priority habitats under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) and are protected under Annex I of the EC Habitats Directive (1992) as being of European significance.


2.2 4 Presence within East Anglia ONE


In order to ensure that anthropogenic activities do not adversely affect any areas of S. spinulosa biogenic reef that might be found across the East Anglia ONE site and offshore cable corridor, it is important that the distribution of S. spinulosa across the site is adequately defined. It is particularly important to make a distinction between the different types of S. spinulosa communities present in an area when evaluating potential Annex I habitats, since it is only reef that qualifies under Annex I of the Habitats Directive and not the worm itself.


5 Volume 2, Chapter 9 of the Environmental Statement (ES) describes the baseline benthic environment of the East Anglia ONE site and offshore cable corridor. Section 9.4.2.10 provides specific information in relation to Sabellaria spinulosa reef.


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In order to inform the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the consent application for East Anglia ONE, the distribution of S. spinulosa at the East Anglia ONE site was evaluated using a range of data collected and utilising the following approaches:


 Review of the side-scan sonar imagery of the seabed. Outline Operations and Maintenance Monitoring Plan Offshore Imagery was obtained where the presence of S.spinulosa reef habitat was suspected following the Page 5


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