Protecting England's seas
As part of the Government's aim to create a network of protected areas around the UK coast, a proposal was put forward in September 2011 to create 127 English Marine Conservation Zones.
These sites were agreed upon by a wide variety of stakeholders who all use our seas in different ways, including environmental, renewable energy and fishing interests.
There was further good news in 2012 when the Government's own environmental advisers - Natural England and JNCC - agreed that all 127 sites should be designated areas for protecting our marine wildlife.
However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) currently only intend to turn 31 of those sites into protected areas. What's more, none of these sites will provide any direct protection for mobile species, including seabirds, harbour porpoises and seals. This is a real blow and we are bitterly disappointed by Defra's unambitious proposals.
It is a missed opportunity to protect some of the England's most important wildlife. It also marks the continued failing of Government to protect the marine environment, especially those areas of sea vital for seabirds.
The map on this page shows just how far short Defra's proposals fall in protecting our precious marine environment and building a network of protected areas.
We'll keep fighting
In England, we are continuing to call on Government to:
- Designate and manage the proposed 31 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) as soon as possible in 2013, reinstating seabirds as protected species for the following MCZs:
- Cumbria Coast
- Lundy, in the Bristol Channel
- Torbay, south Devon
- Padstow Bay & Surrounds, north Cornwall
- Set a clear timetable for the designation and management of further sites that fully represent and protect the range of marine species and habitats found around the UK.