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DEFRA Consults on MPAs

Apr 21,2009 SACN


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Date: Monday 20th April 2009   

Consultation on ‘Delivering Marine Conservation Zones and European Marine Sites: A draft strategy for marine protected areas’ 

Consultation Documents at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/marine-conservation-zones/index.htm 

1.      I am writing to invite your view on the draft Strategy for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), ‘Delivering Marine Conservation Zones and European Marine Sites’.  The delivery of a well managed ecologically coherent, network of MPAs has been identified as one of the key tools in delivering our vision of ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas’.  The MPA network will help ensure we are able to recover and protect the richness of our marine environment and ensure the loss of marine biodiversity is halted.

The Marine and Coastal Access Bill that was introduced to Parliament in December 2008 will provide the framework for new site designation and protection measures based on the designation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs).  These new site designations, together with European marine sites designated as part of the Natura 2000 network under the EC Birds and Habitat Directives, will form the primary components of the ecologically coherent network we are aiming for. The draft strategy sets out how we intend to deliver this network and we want to ensure our stakeholders have an opportunity to comment on the framework and principles being proposed. We would like your views on the framework, criteria and principles for selecting and designating MPAs provided in the draft Strategy.

The Strategy is one element of three key pieces of work we are producing in relation to the MPA network. The three elements are as follows:

·       Public consultation on the draft MPA strategy  ��" April 2009 to June 2009

·       Publication of four revised Defra draft MCZ guidance documents ��"  May 2009

·       Development of new MCZ technical and governance guidance ��" May to September 2009

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the revised Defra draft MCZ guidance documents that relate to the implementation of the marine nature conservation elements of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill will be made available on the Defra website during May this year. These guidance documents were originally published in December 2008 but have now been revised in light of the Parliamentary scrutiny of the Bill that has taken place.  Revised guidance will be made available on:

-       Draft MCZ Site Selection Principles (Note 1 published)

-       Duties on public authorities in relation to Marine Conservation Zones (Note 2)

-       Draft guidance on protecting Marine Conservation Zones from the impacts of unregulated activities and deliberate damage (Note 3)

-       Draft guidance on SSSIs and National Nature Reserves in the subtidal area (Note 4)

Whilst not part of this formal consultation on the draft MPA Strategy we would welcome your comments on this revised guidance. You may submit your comments to the address below.

The third element of this work, the development of new technical and governance MCZ guidance, is currently being drafted by Natural England (NE) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and will consulted upon in September 2009.

Finally, we will also be arranging a short series of workshops with key users of our seas to discuss this strategy and help identify what needs to be done to build the MPA network we need.  We will contact key individuals and organisations in the near future with details of these events.  In the meantime if you would like more information regarding these workshops please contact us using the details below

2.      The following documents may be found on Defra"s website: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/marine-conservation-zones/index.htm

·       The document ‘Delivering Marine Conservation Zones and European Marine Sites a draft strategy for marine protected areas’

·       Letter to consultees

·       List of consultees

3.      We welcome your views and comments on the proposals. If you wish to obtain a copy of this consultation, please contact: Marine Biodiversity Team, Room 1/05, Temple Quay House, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6EB, or email: marinebiodiversity@defra.gsi.gov.uk


4.      Please send responses to either:

Marine Biodiversity Team,

Room 1/05,

Temple Quay House,

Temple Quay,



 or email: marinebiodiversity@defra.gsi.gov.uk

5.      Responses should be received by: 13th July 2009

6.      When this consultation ends, we intend to put a copy of the responses in the Defra library at Ergon House, London. This is so that the public can see them. Also, members of the public may ask for a copy of responses under freedom of information legislation.

7.      If you do not want your response - including your name, contact details and any other personal information - to be publicly available, please say so clearly in writing when you send your response to the consultation. Please note, if your computer automatically includes a confidentiality disclaimer, that wont count as a confidentiality request.

8.      Please explain why you need to keep details confidential. We will take your reasons into account if someone asks for this information under freedom of information legislation. But, because of the law, we cannot promise that we will always be able to keep those details confidential.
We will summarise all responses and place this summary on our website at
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult. This summary will include a list of names of organisations that responded but not people"s personal names, addresses or other contact details.

To see consultation responses and summaries, please contact the library at:

      Information Resource Centre
      Lower Ground Floor
      Ergon House
      17 Smith Square
      SW1P 3JR

      Telephone: 020-7238-6575

Please give the library 24 hours notice. There is a charge for photocopying and postage.    

9.      If you have any comments or complaints regarding the consultation process, as opposed to the contents in the consultation paper, please address them to: Marjorie Addo, Defra"s Consultation Co-ordinator, Area 7B Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR, or email consultation.coordinator@defra.gsi.gov.uk   

10.     Thank you for your help in this matter. If you have any queries please contact us as above.    


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