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Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection

Volume 506: debated on Thursday 4 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to publish the draft statement setting out the principles of an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009; and if he will make a statement. (319435)

The written statement to fulfil the requirement in Section 123(6) of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 will be laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State on 10 or 11 March 2010.

The statement will set out the principles and other matters that Government will follow when designating a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). They include: the seven principles of ecological coherence which will underpin the network design; Government's commitment to an ecologically coherent network of MPAs by 2012; social and economic considerations; protection levels for MPAs including sites to allow recovery of damaged or diminished features; and links with other legislation such as the marine strategy framework directive.

The Government believe the ecologically coherent network of MPAs created through the Act will represent a significant step towards our vision for clean healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas, and increase resilience to climate change.