Marine Conservation Zones around the Isle of Wight and Studland Bay would have meant restrictions around anchorages and moorings for recreational boaters
Four Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) have been taken off the table after implications on boaters meant they were not suitable for designation.
In what’s being hailed as a success for sailors by the RYA, four proposed MCZs around the Isle of Wight and Studland Bay will now not go forward for consultation because of the significant impact potential mooring and anchoring restrictions would have on boaters.
The government announced 37 potential candidate sites for the second tranche of MCZs last year, with 23 now having been carried forward for consultation.
Defra are aiming to have a third tranche of MCZs implemented in 2016/17, of which these four sites could again been put forward for consideration.
The RYA argued that there needed to be objective and robust evidence to support designated MCZs around the Isle of Wight and Studland Bay before any decisions were made.
RYA planning and environment manager Emma Barton said: “We are pleased that the government has recognised that there were significant implications for local sea users at a number of the candidate sites proposed last year.
“We will continue to support the designation process whilst striving to minimise the potential impact of MCZs on the navigational rights and safety to recreational boaters.”
A consultation period on the remaining 23 MCZs, covering 10,810 square kilometers of UK seas, will close on 24 April.
This latest consultation is the second tranche of MCZs, with the first seeing 27 sites around Britain being designated as Marine Conservation Zones, ensuring important wildlife, plant and geological features are protected.
Marine environment minister George Eustice, said: “We’re doing more than ever to protect our seas, preserving incredible underwater landscapes and helping our sea life flourish.
“We’ve already created 27 Marine Conservation Zones and a quarter of English inshore waters are in protected areas.
“It is important we secure the future of our coastal communities as part of our long-term economic plan. We want to support these communities while protecting our marine life.
“We’re asking everyone with an interest in our sea to respond to our consultation so we can create new protected areas and ensure our seas remain healthy and productive for generations to come.”
The proposed MCZ sites include:
- Coquet to St. Mary
- Farnes East
- Runswick Bay
- Holderness Inshore
- Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds
- The Swale Estuary
- Dover to Deal
- Dover to Folkstone
- Offshore Brighton
- Offshore Overfalls
- The Needles
- Western Channel
- Land’s End (Runnel Stone)
- North West of Jones Bank
- Greater Haig Fras
- Newquay and the Gannel
- Hartland Point to Tintagel
- Bideford to Foreland Point
- West of Walney
- Allonby Bay
A third tranche of MCZs will follow in 2016, which will aim to complete the English component of the UK’s contribution to a network of Marine Protected Areas in the North East Atlantic.