Fears over numbers of marine life ‘zones’

PLANS to introduce Marine Conservation Zones off the Scarborough coastline may not be included in recommendations to the Government.

A total of 127 marine sites around England’s coast, including eight in Yorkshire, have been recommended to become Marine Conservation Zones next year.

The recommendations include the area running from Filey Brigg to just north of Scarborough, which has been classed as an area of benthic biodiversity, a spawning location for fish and home to approximately 50 per cent of the English population of purple sandpiper.

However the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust fears the Government’s statutory nature conservation bodies, Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, will recommend only a fraction of the 127 recommended sites are designated.

Kirsten Smith, North Sea Living Seas manager with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “A huge amount of work has been done to get a broad agreement on this network of sites needed for the health and future productivity of our marine environment. Now, in the final stages the Government has lost its direction and is proposing to over-ride the recommendations of local stakeholders and cut the 127 sites down to an unrealistic 30 in contradiction with the aims of the new Marine and Coastal Access Act.”