It will impact seas from Flamborough Head to Felixstowe

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will begin hosting drop-in sessons next week on draft East Inshore and East Offshore Marine Plans.

It’s a chance for people to find out more about England’s first draft marine plans for the seas from Flamborough Head in the north to Felixstowe in the south.

These are the first two of 11 marine plans to be delivered for England.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and

Fisheries, Richard Benyon, has announced that the Government is

publishing a summary of responses to the consultation on creating a

series of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) around our coast.

But

the MCS has blasted the Government for indicating that it will

‘designate less than a quarter of the 127 MCZs that

scientists and industry recommended as essential to deliver an

ecologically coherent network’.

The marine plans aim to inform and guide marine users and regulators, manage the sustainable development of marine industries, while taking into account local communities and the need to protect leisure uses and the environment.

Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon encouraged ‘everyone with an interest to take part in the consultation.’

Paul Gilliland, the MMO’s head of marine planning, added: ‘Marine plans will be of interest to anyone who enjoys our coastline and seas, or relies on our marine area to make a living.

‘We want to hear from as many people as possible – from those living on the coast to major developers – and will be holding a series of public drop-in sessions during July and August.

‘Our seas are facing unprecedented and competing demands, so this is an ideal time for marine planning to begin in these areas, to help meet that challenge in a way that provides for people, industry and wildlife.’

As well as offering an online consultation tool, nine drop-in sessions will be held along the East coast to enable people to find out more about the draft plans and have their say.

Drop-in sessions – will run from 10am to 8pm at the following locations:
Tuesday 23 July – Felixstowe Town Hall
Wednesday 24 July – Slaughden Sailing Club, Aldeburgh
Thursday 25 July – Orbis Centre, Lowestoft
Tuesday 30 July – Alderman Peel High School, near Wells-next-the-Sea
Wednesday 31 July – Your Business Networks, King’s Lynn
Thursday 1 August – Black Sluice Centre, Boston
Tuesday 6 August – North Shore Hotel and Golf Club, near Skegness
Wednesday 7 August – Grimsby Town Hall
Thursday 8 August – The Deep, Hull

The consultation will run until 5pm on 8 October.

Marine Conservation Society (MCS) response

MCS Senior Policy Officer, Melissa Moore says: ‘This statement indicates Government will designate less than a quarter of the 127 Marine Conservation Zones that scientists and industry recommended as essential to deliver an ecologically coherent network.

‘Every day of further delays results in more of these sites being damaged by trawling and dredging. ‘We think they are making a grave error in not backing the full network.

‘Not only has the scientific need and vast public support for MCZs been demonstrated, but an economic study published by leading academics reveals that diving and angling is worth £1.8billion to £3.4billion in the recommended 127 MCZs each year, but this income will only continue to be generated if the MCZs are designated and safeguarded for future productivity.’

She added: ‘For a Government prioritising economic recovery, this is a policy that they should be fully supporting.

‘The Secretary of State has made no secret of the simplicity of his mandate from the Prime Minister – to grow the rural economy, and simultaneously protect and enhance our natural capital.

‘MCZs represent the most urgent, and most immediate opportunity, to deliver on this promise, so our campaign for a world class network of Marine Conservation Zones continues.’

Picture: John Dory and diver. Credit: Paul Naylor/Marine Conservation Society