Bob Earll There has been a long standing, high level and significant block within Defra to the idea of Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). This has included Natural England being told not to include this idea in their early MCZ work to the most recent shambles of a report and 3 year ‘process’ accompanying the Defra/Cefas report which came out last year. So this review is good news. Richard Benyon MP, an ex Defra marine minister, is taking the lead. He can take the credit for pushing the Catchment Based Approach idea through a few years ago and the review is time limited. The contradiction of our ‘overseas’ and UK approach to HPMAs seems to have hit home. Another chance to rehearse the arguments, let’s hope the outcomes are constructive.
Defra ‘On Saturday 31st May, World Oceans Day, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove launched a review into whether and how Highly Protected Marine Areas, the strongest form of marine protection which would stop all human activity with the potential to cause harm in vulnerable areas, could be introduced in English seas. The announcement received positive coverage in the Daily Telegraph, Times, Sky News Online, ITV News, The I, and various regional outlets, and Minister Coffey was also interviewed live on Sky News to discuss the review and how this will fit into the Government’s commitment to create a Blue Belt of marine protection around the UK coast and our overseas territories. The review, led by Richard Benyon MP, will be asked to establish and evidence-based process and criteria for selecting Highly Protected Marine Areas, and recommend potential locations for pilot sites if supported by the evidence. Widely respected by the fishing industry and with an active interest in environmental issues, Richard Benyon will put the views of those who use the seas at the heart of the review, working with fishermen, conservation groups, marine industries, and local communities.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: The UK is a global leader in the fight to protect our seas, but World Oceans Day is an important reminder that we need to safeguard the future prosperity and health of our ocean. Click here to read more