The Government has today launched a three month consultation on the next tranche of Marine Conservation Zones around the coast of England. Below is a joint response to the announcement from the National Trust and the Marine Conservation Society.
Second round of Marine Conservation Zone designation will leave English waters woefully under protected
Conservation charities say promised network of protection is not even close as vital sites don’t even get to public consultation
The UK’s leading marine charity says it is hugely disappointed that, in the same week the Government has been warned how England’s declining natural environment is harming the economy, it has failed to deliver on promises to better protect English seas.
37 sites had been proposed to go forward to a second public consultation on Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), all identified by Government’s scientific advisers as vital to plugging “major gaps” that currently exist in the development of a UK network.
However, only 23 sites have made the final list when the consultation for potential new MCZs was launched on Friday 30th January. While MCS is keen that members of the public air their views to ensure that these sites become a reality, the charity has real concerns that English seas will not contribute a network of sites that we can be proud of in future.
This week businessman and former owner of Wolves football club, Sir Jack Hawyard, died aged 91. In the late 1960s Sir Jack helped the National Trust acquire Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel through a substantial gift.
Lundy Island – an island rich in human and natural history – bought by the National Trust in 1969
Rob Joules, General Manager for North Devon, said: “Sir Jack Hayward’s gift to the Neptune campaign in 1969 which enabled the National Trust to buy the magical Lundy Island was incredibly generous and allowed us to ensure that the public could continue to enjoy the island forever. Since 1969 tens of thousands of people have been over to the island and enjoyed it first hand; and many millions more have longingly gazed across at the island from the north Devon and south Wales coastlines. Sir Jack’s gift is a legacy that will live on for many future generations to enjoy this unique and very special place.”
Lundy Island is owned by the National Trust and managed by the Landmark Trust. In 1986 it became the first official Marine Nature Area in England.
Runners taking a break on the South West Coast Path, Studland, Dorset. Credit National Trust images, Chris Lacey.
As the Government announces a further £5 million will be committed to speeding up the creation of the coastal path around England, Simon Pryor, Natural England Director at the National Trust, gives his reaction to the news:
“Millions of us visit the English coast every year and we have a deep and strong emotional connection with the coastal places that we cherish.
“This financial back-up of the commitment to open up access to the coastline of England by 2020 continues the journey which has led to better rights of way, and the creation of national trails and National Parks.
“An all England coastal footpath will mean that people can see old favourites anew and connect with a part of the country that has shaped our national identity.”
The National Trust looks after 742 miles of coast in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including one in three miles of the South West of England coast and five miles of the White Cliffs of Dover.
UK breeding seabirds are under threat from a triple whammy of extreme weather, predators and human disturbance, a new National Trust report has revealed.
Puffins on the Farne Islands off of the Northumberland coast
The study of seabird sites along the Trust’s 742 miles of coastline was carried out by the conservation organisation to evaluate the importance of National Trust locations for seabirds and to recognise the issues that impact breeding success.
Following the findings, the report calls for more regular monitoring to help detect any changes in seabird colonies, which can happen over a short period of time, and a greater awareness of human impact on breeding populations.
Mark Harold, South West Regional Director for the National Trust said: ‘Today (3 July 2014) we have been informed by the agents acting on behalf of Evan’s Estates that we have been unsuccessful in our bid to purchase Bantham Beach and Avon Estuary in South Devon.
‘We are extremely disappointed at this decision. We, along with many thousands of people who have contacted us over the past few weeks encouraging our involvement in its future, care very passionately about Bantham. We believe this is a very special place, held dear in the hearts of many, not only locally, but also those who have fond memories of childhoods and family times spent there.
‘We will of course continue to care and protect for ever and for everyone the 40 miles and 3,000 hectares of the South Devon coast we already care for. We would also want, if possible, to work with any future owners of Bantham Beach & Estuary and ensure that this beautiful location is continued to be enjoyed by the many thousands of people who have told us how much it means to them.
‘We would like to thank everyone for their support of our fundraising appeal. As a charity the Trust relies on the generous support of its supporters who help us care for some of the most beautiful and vulnerable stretches of coastal land in the country.’