Marine Conservation Zones
Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Hugh Bayley (York Central, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to put in place interim measures to prevent damage to conservation features in recommended marine conservation zones in the North sea; and if she will release a timetable setting out when she expects all 127 recommended marine conservation zones to be protected through formal designation.
Richard Benyon (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Natural Environment and Fisheries), Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Newbury, Conservative)
The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 sets out the provisions and responsibilities in relation to the protection of marine conservation zones (MCZs). Section 125 of the Act places a duty on public authorities to exercise their functions in a manner that best furthers (or least hinders) the conservation objective of MCZs. Under section 132 of the Act, the Marine Management Organisation has powers to introduce interim byelaws for the purposes of protecting any feature where there are, or may be, reasons for the Secretary of State to consider whether to designate the area as an MCZ, and there is an urgent need to protect the feature.
I made a written ministerial statement to the House of Commons on