Earlier this year Defra announced a review to examine whether and how the strongest protections for areas of sea, known as Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), could be introduced. The review, led by Richard Benyon MP, which will run to early 2020, is considering the waters for which the Secretary of State has responsibility: the English inshore and offshore and Northern Ireland offshore zones.

A four week call for evidence was launched on the 3rd October so that the public can give their views on strengthening protections to inform the work of the independent panel,

If accepted as an approach, these Highly Protected Marine Areas would be the strongest form of marine protection in the UK and would build on the Marine Conservation Zones and other protective measures for marine wildlife in UK waters.

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