Marine Charter attracts parliamentary support from all parties

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 19 November 2014

Marine Charter attracts parliamentary support from all parties But will signatures translate into manifesto promises? There was widespread support for a full and well-managed network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around the UK at a marine event in Westminster yesterday (Wednesday19th November).

Marine Charter attracts parliamentary support from all parties But will signatures translate into manifesto promises? There was widespread support for a full and well-managed network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around the UK at a marine event in Westminster yesterday (Wednesday19th November). Representatives from 21 NGO’s, including MCS, had earlier handed in a Marine Charter to Downing Street which had been signed by 134 MPs and 20 peers. The Marine Charter calls on all the parties to ensure a commitment to an ecologically coherent network of MPAs appears in forthcoming election manifestos. At the House of Commons reception, organised by Wildlife and Countryside Link, numerous MPs from all parties as well as representatives from industry and environmental charities including RSPB, WildlifeTrusts, National Trust, WWF, Greenpeace, WWT, ZSL, Client Earth and the Ramblers heard positive noises on marine protection from all parties. MCS Senior Policy Officer, Melissa Moore, with Defra minister, George Eustice Environment shadow minister Angela Smith said MCZ sites must be properly managed, and Labour would complete a network at the earliest possible date. Roger Williams MP said an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas will be in Lib Dems manifesto, whilst Defra minister, George Eustice confirmed that a consultation on more sites will take place in spring 2015 and be implemented before the end of the year. While the final number of sites was not disclosed, Eustice confirmed that consultation on a second tranche of MCZs taken from those 37 candidate sites already identified by Defra will begin in the New Year. MCS Communications Manager, Richard Harrington, attended the event and said: “This event showed there is real support for the need to protect our seas, and the resources they provide, amongst a core of oliticians. There is still a big challenge ahead, as every speaker acknowledged - a busy programme in parliament and an election looming. Here at MCS, we’ll be focussing on the set of 37 sites in England and Wales up for consultation in the spring, and ensuring areas put forward in Scottish seas get the protection levels they need.”

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