Government going soft on protecting our seas
Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, responding to the announcement by Defra on Marine Conservation Zones (15th November 2011) commented:
“This Tory-led government is betraying all the promises David Cameron made during his huksky-hugging phase and show it is utterly out of touch with people who care about the environment.
“This further delay will be a bitter blow for communities and organisations who have worked to protect our seas and wildlife. Far from voting blue and going green, the Government appears determined to undo much of the environmental progress started by Labour. Today we add marine conservation to the list of deadlines they have failed to meet."
Labour passed the Marine and Coastal Access Act in 2009, which included provisions to establish an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas by the end of 2012.
The Government have announced a further 6-month delay before Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee present their impact assessment on the proposed marine sites. They were due to present their advice to Defra on 16 January, this has now been put back to July 2012. Despite agreeing to designate sites by the end of 2012 (http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-5881) the government have confirmed that no designations will happen until 2013 at the earliest: www.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/11/15/wms-marine-conservation-zones/