Defra has announced today the start of its public consultation on the designation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs).  

It is proposing that up to 31 of the sites put forward by the regional projects will be candidates for designation in 2013.  

The consultation outlines the proposals for the first set of sites to be designated and gives the public the opportunity to have a say on its future.  

The consultation document also outlines those sites which will be candidates for future designation and those that will not be pursued.  

Designating MCZs to contribute to a network of Marine Protected Areas is a Government commitment under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.  

Reference Areas have not been included in the first tranche of sites for designation. Defra were advised that the Reference Areas put forward did not meet the requirements in the guidance to the four regional projects. Defra will conduct a review before making any decisions on these areas.  

How can I take part?

Individuals, groups and organisations wishing to take part have until 31 March 2013 to comment on the proposals.  

You can find out more about the consultation on the Defra website.

You can read more anout Marine Conservation Zones here. 

The RYA will be examining the consultation documentation and will publish more information on what these proposals may mean for recreational boating.