Benyon Review Into Highly Protected Marine Areas: final report published

On World Ocean Day 2019, the then Defra Secretary of State, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, launched an  independent review on Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) in the waters for which the Secretary of State has responsibility: the English inshore and offshore and Northern Ireland offshore zones. The review was led by former Environment and Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon and the Panel’s recommendations have now been published.

Although around 40% of England’s seas are designated Marine Protected Areas these areas are managed to ‘favourable condition’ and some activities are still allowed to take place in them so they are not pristine. In HPMAs all human activity would be prohibited, allowing the full ecological potential of these sites to be realised.

The review set out to conduct an impartial and evidence-based assessment of the views of sea users and other relevant stakeholders on the environmental, social, and economic impacts of HPMAs and, if supported by the evidence gathered, recommend a process for establishing HPMAs, criteria for the ongoing monitoring of their environmental and economic impact, and initial recommendations of up to five potentially suitable pilot sites.

The review concluded that HPMAs are an essential component of the Marine Protected Areas network, and government should introduce them. It sets out a series of recommendations on selection, identification and management of HPMAs.

Any subsequent consultation on the location and designation of HPMAs will be undertaken by Defra.

For more information and to view the report follow this link


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