Valerie asks for a timetable for the Marine Conservation Zones designation

On Tuesday 26 March 2013, Valerie Vaz, Member of Parliament for Walsall South, raised the issue of the timetable for designation of all 127 Marine Conservation Zones.

Valerie Vaz MP said:

“The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 set out plans for the UK to establish an ecological network of protected areas around the UK coastline. On 13 December 2012 the Government made a statement saying that they would designate only 31 of the proposed 127 Marine Conservation Zones. So far nothing has been done.”

“The Government has spent £8.8 million on a consultation. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) guidance states that the lack of scientific certainty should not postpone the decision. But there has already been a consultation for over two and a half years. There was a steering committee of 44 industry representatives and 12 conservation non-governmental organisations.”

“The announcement of the 31 designated zones is only a first step in protecting 28 species of mammals and fish that are under threat. I am a member of the National Trust and it is important to protect not only the coastlines, but the seas, because it is a finely balanced eco-system. The Minister is ignoring the advice from his own Department.”

“I asked the Minister if he could state whether there will be a re-consultation on redefining the guidance on an ecological coherence network. Parliament needs to know before any more public money is wasted on a further consultation. It is important that the Government announce a timetable for the full designation of the 127 zones now.”

Further information on Marine Conservation Zones can be found on Defra’s website here:

A transcript of Valerie’s speech can be found here: