UK Government News Release announces new list of MCZs

The UK Government issued a News Release, 16th January 2016, concerning the new list of Marine Conservation Zones which it is establishing. The introduction to the News Release states:

“As set out in the manifesto, the government is committed to delivering a Blue Belt of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around our coasts. These will protect precious species and habitats in our seas.

“The Blue Belt is made up of different types of MPAs [Marine Protected Areas]. These are Marine Conservation Zones (MCZsMCZ Marine Conservation Zone), which are called Nature Conservation MPAs in Scotland, Special Areas of Conservation (SACsSAC Special Areas of Conservation), Special Protection Areas (SPAsSPA Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are strictly protected sites classified in accordance with Article 4 of the EC Birds Directive, which came into force in April 1979. They are classified for rare and vulnerable birds (as listed on Annex I of the Directive), and for regularly occurring migratory species.), Sites or Areas of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIsSSSI Site of special scientific interest/ASSIs) and RamsarRAMSAR The Convention on Wetlands is of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention or Wetlands Convention) was adopted in Ramsar, Iran in February 1971 and entered into force in December 1975. The Convention covers all aspects of wetland conservation and wise use. The Convention has three main 'pillars' of activity: + the designation of wetlands of international importance as Ramsar sites + the promotion of the wise-use of all wetlands in the territory of each country + and international co-operation with other countries to further the wise-use of wetlands and their resources. The Convention's Contracting Parties have assumed a wide range of related obligations. As of December 2003 there were 138 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1,328 Ramsar sites covering over 111 million hectares. sites. MPAs are just one of the measures we are taking to ensure clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas.

“We have already made good progress in designating a network of sites in the Blue Belt. Over 17% of UK waters and almost a third of English inshore waters are now within MPAs, including the 23 MCZs designated today.

“In addition to these 23 new MCZs, consultations are also starting on SACs for harbour porpoise, and 7 SPAs for seabirds.

“We are seeking to fill the remaining gaps in the Blue Belt through a third and final tranche of MCZs. This document outlines the principles and approaches that we will take to selecting the final tranche of sites.”

The document, which identifies the new MCZs which have been created and provides a timescale for the third set of MCZs, may be seen at

Source: UK Government website, 16th January 2016. For the full details, see

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