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Environment Protection: Seas and Oceans

Volume 508: debated on Tuesday 23 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to publish the Government's Marine Protected Area Strategy; and what priority will be accorded to ecological coherence in the strategy. (323244)

We plan to publish our Marine Protected Area (MPA) strategy before Easter. MPAs are an important tool to achieve the Government's vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. The Government are committed to designating Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the European habitats and birds directives respectively, and Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. Our ambition is to have sufficient sites designated by the end of 2012 so that they form a UK ecologically coherent network together with existing SACs, SPAs, MCZs, Ramsar sites and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and those sites designated by the Devolved Administrations.