Time running out for marine environment
Wednesday 3rd July 2013
Spiny seahorse cpt Julie Hatcher
The Government has today confirmed it will “say more about future designation of Marine Conservation Zones when announcing its response to the recent consultation”.
In response to comments from the Science and Technology Committee’s Marine Science report, the Government fails to set out a clear timetable or give any real assurances that its ambitions for an ecologically coherent network remain.
We will continue to call for the designation of a network of protected areas that our seas need
Joan Edwards, Head of Living Seas for The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“Time is fast running out for our marine environment. We will continue to call for the designation of a network of protected areas that our seas need. We await the Government’s response to the Select Committee with interest.”
The Wildlife Trusts submitted a comprehensive response to the Government consultation into the designation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). This response made it clear that 31 MCZs, proposed for designation in 2013, will not create the ecologically coherent network promised by Government. Nor will it provide the comprehensive protection our seas so badly need.
Read the Government’s response to the Technology Committee’s report at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmsctech/443/...
Notes for editors:
The Wildlife Trusts (TWT)
More than 350,000 pledges, calling for an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas, were presented to Downing Street on 12 June by Marine Conservation Society, the RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts and WWF. This public support provides Government with the mandate for swift and effective action. So has the Science and Technology Select Committee’s report on Marine Science, which concluded that the creation of new Marine Conservation Zones is vital to protect and restore the marine environment. We agree that protected areas are one of the best tools to protect marine wildlife effectively and restore our seas to their full potential following decades of neglect and decline.
The Wildlife Trusts have asked the Government to set out a clear timetable for designation of both the first tranche of Marine Conservation Zones and future sites as well as provide an assurance that it remains committed to designating an ecologically coherent network.
We voiced concerns to the Science and Technology Committee which asked us to give verbal evidence at the end of last year. We are pleased that the Committee’s Chair Andrew Miller MP added his support to our concerns.
In April, the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee on Marine Science concluded its report (2) saying: “We were pleased to hear that the Minister is keen to move the Marine Conservation Zone process forward, but we have not seen this intention translated into action. The Minister should not let his priorities be set by fear of judicial review. Further delay to the process perpetuates the uncertainty that has already been damaging to the Marine Conservation Zone project. We recommend that Government set out a clear timetable for designation of this tranche and future tranches of Marine Conservation Zones, with a clear commitment to an end date by which the ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas, as the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 requires, will be established.”
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.