Closed – Irish Sea Marine Conservation Zones Consultation

Defra has published the consultation documents for the first tranche of Marine Conservation Zones. The consultation runs until midnight on 31st March 2013. This is the key opportunity for everyone with an interest in the marine and coastal environment to influence which MCZs are designated. Information gathered during this consultation may also be used to influence which sites are put forward in later tranches.

In judging which sites to include in this initial round of designations Defra has stated that its aim has been to find the right balance between the strength of the conservation advantages an MCZ offers relative to the socio-economic implications of its likely designation. Whether an MCZ, and all of its features, are suitable for designation in the 2013 tranche depends on the levels of confidence in the scientific evidence and the balance between the site’s conservation advantages and the socio-economic costs.

Only 4 of the 15 MCZs (19 including the recommended reference areas) put forward by the Irish Sea Conservation Zones Regional Stakeholder Group have been included in this first tranche to be considered for designation. These are:

  • Cumbria coast – but only for Honeycomb Worm (Sabellaria alveolata) reefs – just 1 of the 8 features identified as the other 7 require further data
  • Fylde offshore – for both features identified (subtidal sand and subtidal sands and gravel)
  • Hilbre Island Group – for both features identified (Blue mussel Mytilus edulis beds and Peat and clay exposures)
  • North of Celtic Deep – but only for subtidal coarse sediment and subtidal sands and gravels – just 2 of the 4 features identified as the others require further data

The website also contains links to a range of supporting documents including a list of Irish Sea sites for further consideration at a later stage, subject to the results of further work being carried out. These include:

  • Allonby Bay
  • Mid St George’s Channel
  • Mud Hole
  • North St George’s Channel
  • Ribble Estuary
  • Sefton Coast
  • Slieve Na Griddle
  • Solway Firth
  • South Rigg
  • West of Walney
  • Wyre-Lune

For more information, including how to respond to the consultation and all supporting documents, see the Defra MCZ consultation page

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