Concerns over government dragging feet over ocean protection zones

MPs are concerned that the government is stalling any programme to help create zones in the ocean that would protect the wildlife and UK seas. Ministers are concerned about the stall in creating new marine conservation zones within the UK waters because they believe that those opposed to the project are going to put them through an intense judicial review. MPs from the Technology and cross-party science committee lobbied these claims.

Already about 127 marine conservation zones have already been proposed for recognition, but out of these only 32 sites have actually been consulted on by the environment department and there have not been any plans that outline how the zones should be managed or implemented.

MPs also are concerned that the government is changing its goalposts and requiring much more scientific evidence to be presented now before they will support any of the protected areas receiving such a designation.

As the Government gets closer to the completion of the scheme it now says it will need ‘robust’ information and the very best evidence out there to outline if the conservation zones are even feasible. Previously the Government only wanted the best available evident to select sites that it believed are important wildlife and habitat sites.

It has now been over three year since the posing of the Marine and Coastal Access Act which was supposed to help create a pathway for the marine conservation zones to be created from. At the time the Act had public support and cross-party support.

However, due to the amount of delays that the project has suffered, already many environments have already started to degrease and fishing industries have been left hanging uncertain about where they can continue to fish and where they need to downscale operations.