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You are viewing : Home » LOCAL COUNCILS UPDATE (view all editions) » 2019 Editions » July 2019

Marine life protected by Blue Belt expansion

Forty-one Marine Conservation Zones have been created by the Environment Secretary Michael Gove, marking the most significant expansion of England’s ‘Blue Belt’ of protected areas to date.

Stretching from Cornwall to Northumberland, the new protections safeguard 12,000 square kilometres of marine habitat, an area almost eight times the size of Greater London. The announcement follows the government’s manifesto commitment to create a Blue Belt of marine protection for Britain’s overseas territories and its own coast, and builds on the ambition of the 25-Year Environment Plan.

The rare stalked jellyfish, short-snouted seahorse and blue mussel beds are among the species and habitats that will benefit from the protections.

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 UK government has called for 30% of the world’s ocean to be protected by 2030 and has co-chaired the creation of the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance with Vanuatu.

The government will also publish an international strategy later this year setting out further action to conserve and sustainably use the ocean.

(Published by DEFRA: 31 May 2019)