41 new ‘blue belt’ areas created off English coast

Home UK 41 new ‘blue belt’ areas created off English coast
41 new ‘blue belt’ areas created off English coast

Dozens of new protected areas have been designated in the seas around England to benefit the wildlife living there, the government has announced.

The 41 new marine conservation zones range from the coast of Northumberland in the North East (designated to protect eider ducks), to the seas south of the Isles of Scilly off the South West which support seabirds, fish and basking sharks.

Other species that could benefit include the rare stalked jellyfish, short-snouted seahorses and blue mussel beds.

Image: Eider ducks are found off the coast of Northumberland
The Camel Estuary in Cornwall is one of the new protected sites
Image: The Camel Estuary in Cornwall is one of the new protected sites

The newly designated areas cover 4,600 square miles (12,000sq/km) of England's seas, an area almost eight times the size of London, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

The UK's "blue belt" of protected sites spans 85,000 square miles (220,000sq/km) around the seas of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Advertisement

Conservationists described the introduction of the 41 areas as "fantastic" and said good management was now needed to stop damaging activities in the sites in order to protect wildlife.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "The UK is already leading the rest of the world by protecting over 30% of our ocean – but we know there is more to do.

More from UK

"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."

The designation of the new sites follows a consultation, including with local fishermen, marine conservation experts and 48,000 responses from the public.

Basking sharks are found in the waters off the Isle of Scilly
Image: Basking sharks are found in the waters off the Isle of Scilly
Ocean quahogs are found off the Holderness coast in the East Riding of Yorkshire
Image: Ocean quahogs are found off the Holderness coast in the East Riding of Yorkshire

There are now 91 marine conservation zones in the UK – 89 in English waters and two in Northern Ireland offshore waters.

There are also five in Northern Irish inshore waters, one in Welsh waters, and 31 nature conservation marine protected areas in Scottish waters.

The Orford inshore site off the Suffolk coast is one of the new protected sites
Image: The Orford inshore site off the Suffolk coast is one of the new protected sites
Read More – Source [contf] [contfnew]

Sky News

[contfnewc] [contfnewc]