41 new Marine Conservation Zones created

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has introduced 41 new Marine Conservation Zones, marking the most significant expansion of England’s ‘Blue Belt’ of protected areas to date.

The new protections safeguard 12,000 square kilometres of marine habitat, an area almost eight times the size of Greater London. With 50 zones already designated in 2013 and 2016, the UK now has 355 Marine Protected Areas of different types, spanning 220,000 square km – nearly twice the size of England.

The latest round of protections follow an extensive consultation, including with local fishermen and marine conservation experts, which received overwhelming support for the proposals. The UK government has called for 30 per cent of the world’s ocean to be protected by 2030 and has co-chaired the creation of the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance with Vanuatu.

Gove said: “The UK is already leading the rest of the world by protecting over 30 per cent 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.”

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It is no mystery that there is a huge task at hand to solve the growing problems of waste, inefficient resources, and the disposal of hazardous materials as our communities develop.

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