Government Response to the Highly Protected Marine Areas Review

The Government has – on 8th June 2021 – published its response to the Highly Protected Marine Areas Review which they had previously commissioned former Environment and Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon to undertake to examine whether and how the strongest protections for areas of sea, known as Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), could be introduced. 

The Review, which was published in June 2020, recommended the introduction of HPMAs as an essential part of the overall Marine Protected Area network, enabling greater recovery of the marine ecosystem.

The Government’s responses to the recommendations can be seen here.

Pilot HPMA sites will now be identified within English waters, using powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009). These may be inshore, offshore and within or outside of exisiting MPAs. Consultation will be undertaken by Defra on a shortlist of possible sites, with a view to designating a number of sites in 2022. 

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