Marine Protected Area network completed
On 31 May 2019, Defra announced the designation of a third tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to complete the Marine Protected Area (MPA) network in Secretary of State waters, and further contribute to an ecologically coherent network of MPAs in the North East Atlantic.
This tranche includes 41 new sites and additional features to already designated sites. For the offshore environment this means protection is provided to 13 new areas in the form of MCZs as well as additional features being added to two previously designated MCZs; the highest number of offshore designations out of the three tranches.
The Marine Conservation Zone Project was established in 2008 by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England to work with regional stakeholder led projects to identify and recommend Marine Conservation Zones to Government. This announcement of the third tranche concludes over 10 years of work across multiple organisations and stakeholders.
The MCZ Timeline:
2008: MCZ Project was launched to identify MCZs in English inshore and English, Welsh and Northern Irish offshore waters to recommend to Government. JNCC and Natural England led the project and four regional project groups worked with a range of stakeholders to identify recommendations for MCZs within the regions.
2011: Recommendations were submitted to Defra by the regional MCZ projects
2012: Formal advice on recommendations provided by JNCC and Natural England to the Government
2013: Public consultation and designation of the first tranche of MCZs
2014: Assessment on the progress of the network conducted and scientific advice provided to Government for a second tranche of MCZs
2015: Public consultation held for the second tranche of MCZs
2016: Designation of second tranche and further assessment of the progress of the MPA network. New potential site options are identified to fill ‘gaps’ in the network and discussed at stakeholder workshop.
2017: Advice provided to Government on remaining recommendations and new site options for a third tranche of MCZs
2018: Public consultation held for the third tranche of MCZs
2019: Designation of third tranche of MCZs