HPMAs will be a new marine designation offering the highest level of environmental protection for our seas, banning all damaging activities to give nature the best chance of recovery. They will provide the opportunity to protect sites at a landscape scale for the first time, safeguarding all wildlife and habitats within their boundaries. By allowing space for nature, we have the opportunity to protect and restore vital areas for wildlife which have been severely damaged by years of overexploitation. Now, areas designated as HPMAs will be able to recover, benefitting not just the site itself but whole seas.
Defra has since announced the process for selecting the first HPMAs, inviting third parties to submit proposals for sites by the end of August. The Wildlife Trusts are delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to this historic designation. Wildlife Trusts around England have been busy preparing evidence for recommended sites which have the most to gain from HPMA designation and will act as star examples of the benefits HPMA designation can bring. Following my own work as a member of the HPMA review panel, this means The Wildlife Trusts will have played a significant role in shaping the roll-out of these vital new marine protections.