Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has created 41 new Marine Conservation Zones following the government’s manifesto commitment to create a Blue Belt of marine protection for Britain’s overseas territories and its own coast.
The new protections safeguard 12,000 square kilometres of marine habitat stretching from Cornwall to Northumberland. Defra have also extended 12 existing designations.
The Environment Secretary said:
The UK is already leading the rest of the world by protecting over 30% of our ocean – but we know there is more to do. Establishing this latest round of Marine Conservation Zones in this Year of Green Action is another big step in the right direction, extending our blue belt to safeguard precious and diverse sea life for future generations to come.
The designation follows a consultation which received overwhelming support for the designations. The UK now has 355 Marine Protected Areas of different types, spanning nearly twice the size of England. The government will also publish an international strategy later this year setting out further action to conserve and sustainably use the ocean.