World-leading ‘Blue Belt’ expands as new marine protections revealed

12 June 2018

Article: 52/2307

On World Oceans Day (8 June 2018), the Environment Secretary Michael Gove set out plans to create more than 40 new Marine Conservation Zones across the UK, safeguarding almost 12,000 square kilometres of marine habitats and marking the most significant expansion of the UK’s ‘Blue Belt’ of protected areas to date.

The proposed protections will cover an area almost eight times the size of Greater London. No new activities deemed damaging – such as dredging, or significant coastal or offshore development – will be allowed to take place in these areas. Existing harmful activities will be minimised or stopped to allow important habitats to be restored over time. Rare or threatened marine habitats and species which will be protected include the short snouted seahorse, stalked jellyfish and peacock’s tail seaweed.

Source: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 8 June 2018