Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) could place potential restrictions on yachting activities

There are just four weeks left to submit your comments to the Government on

Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) proposed for designation in 2013.

The public consultation, being run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), seeks views on proposals to designate 31 areas around the English and Welsh coast as protected areas.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is responding to this public consultation and is

focusing on issues of safety of navigation and socio-economics together with

impacts on recreational boating amenity.

But individual clubs and sailors are urged to have their say on locally

specific points, by communicating directly to Defra for consideration by

Government.

The public consultation closes on 31 March 2013.

31 sites proposed for designation

The consultation primarily focuses on the 31 sites being recommended

for designation in 2013, although Defra would welcome comments on all other

sites being considered.

It does not include the management measures that may be

introduced if a site is designated. Responses to this consultation therefore

are confined only to the proposed site boundaries and the conservation

objectives for protected features.  

Defra is also keen to receive general comments,

particularly in relation to the approach to proposed highly protected sites –

Reference Areas.

How can I take part?

The public consultation is open to everyone who wishes to

respond and the full consultation document together with instructions on how to

submit comments is available on the Defra

website
.

There are concerns that the protected areas could place restrictions on

boating activities such as anchoring and the laying of race marks.

RYA response

Of the 31 sites proposed in the consultation for

designation in 2013 the RYA has objections to only one of the sites: the Aln

Estuary. This  recommended MCZ contains a small charted anchorage in the

one location in which a vessel can stay afloat at all states of the tide in the

Estuary and we will be seeking to retain access to this resource.

The RYA does have on-going concerns about a number of other

sites being considered for designation at some point in the future and is

continuing in its discussions with Defra and the Statutory Nature Conservation

Bodies (SNCBs) about these and will be highlighting them in its response to

this consultation.