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Regional Environmental Characterisation Projects

The Marine ALSF commissioned a series of regional surveys to develop understanding of Britain's submerged habitats and heritage.

The seabed around our coast holds a wealth of marine life and habitats as well as a huge range of historic finds; ancient and modern from shipwrecks to prehistoric landscapes, submerged as sea levels rose after end of the Ice Age and Britain became an island. However the seabed is also subject to pressure from a range of uses, including marine aggregate extraction, fishing and wind farms.

The aim of the Regional Environmental Characterisation (REC) surveys was to acquire data, of the highest quality and detail possible; to enable broadscale characterisation of the seabed habitats, their biological communities and potential historic environment assets within the regions.

The Regional Environmental Characterisations (RECs) were conducted in the following areas. 

  • South Coast (2007 - 2010)
  • Outer Thames (2007-2009)
  • East Coast (2008 - 2011)
  • Humber (2008 - 2011)

Please refer to the Natural Seabed Resources theme for more info on individual REC projects.

Up to 1400 kilometres (*3000 kilometres for the East Coast & Humber regions) of acoustic survey data was acquired in each region, as well as seabed samples, video and photographs.

The survey data for all RECs have been interpreted and finals reports and seabed maps produced.  Geophysical and Environmental Survey data and Operations reports, final reports and interpreted data, including shape files are all available at www.marinealsf.org.uk

REC WEBGIS' were created for all projects to allow users to browse and visualise a number of geospatial datasets submitted as part REC Projects, and can be accessed via links below.  Access to the REC datasets is only available via the Marine GIS database  

For detailed information of the geographical locations of RECs please see the following: Geographical Locations of RECs

Older RECs

Prior to 2007, the MALSF undertook projects in the Eastern English Channel (EEC) and Outer Bristol Channel (OBC).  The MEPF is pleased to announce that the survey data and (where applicable) interpreted data for these projects is now available from the Marine GIS (June 2011).

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Last Modified: 27 April 2014