Designation of Marine Conservation Zones

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Defra, George Eustice, has announced the designation of 27 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the waters off the English coast.

A written ministerial statement states that a 28th MCZ at Hythe Bay in Kent, will be further investigated by the Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and Natural England before a final decision on this site is made early in the new year.

The statement adds that these new MCZs will protect nationally important habitats and species around the English coast and help improve the marine environment. A second tranche of designations will be made in 2015/16 and a third in 2016/17. These tranches will combine with other marine protected areas to complete a contribution to an ecologically coherent network. 

The statement adds that new MCZs will complement the protection given to the existing 113 English Sites of Special Scientific Interest with marine components, 44 English marine Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) established under the EU Habitats directive and 44 English marine Special Protection Areas (SPAs) established under the EU Wild Birds Directives. These marine protected areas taken together cover over 30,000 sq km in English inshore and offshore waters, an area broadly the size of Belgium. The statement adds that since 2010 the area of inshore marine sites around England has increased substantially and now just under 25% of English inshore waters are now within marine protected areas.

Date: 21/11/2013 Date of publication

Author: Defra

DCP link: This item updates DCP section 3.161

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