Ministers accused of dragging feet over protection of UK's marine environment

 

A A A

Environmentalists have accused the Government of being too slow to protect the UK's marine environment.

They are worried about the rate of progress on the development of a network of marine conservation zones which would safeguard wildlife in waters around the country, the BBC said.

A total of 127 areas were nominated for protection following a deal with others who use the sea, such as the fishing and sailing industries.

But just 31 of these zones could be designated under a consultation that ends tomorrow.

Environmentalists are worried that the process is taking too long, but the Government has blamed the slow progress on the squeezed economy.

Jolyon Chesworth, from the Wildlife Trusts, told the BBC: "We are disappointed at the rate of progress. The Government has an international obligation to protect wildlife in the seas.

"The marine environment is not as obvious to people as it is when they see wildlife walking through a woodland or downland but it's just as important and equally worthy of protection.

"The 127 zones were only nominated after very long discussions with anglers, sailors and the fishing industry. We are now being asked to compromise on a compromise."

But Environment Minister Richard Benyon told the BBC that budget cuts meant the cost of scientific assessments for developing new regulations were a major factor.

"We are constrained by a hugely expensive process at a time when we have little money in government," he said.

"I want to do as many zones as we can for as little as we can. People have waited many years for this; we will designate the first tranche in September and will announce the next lot for consultation then."

Environmentalists are concerned the Government will drag its feet on an international commitment to develop the network of protected zones.

But other sea users are worried about the consequences of any new rules. Sailors are concerned about proposals to protect some of the waters around the boating haven of the Isle of Wight, calling the idea "bonkers".

John Pockett, from the Royal Yachting Association, told the BBC: "We fear we won't be able to anchor our yachts; we fear we won't be able to train our next Ben Ainslie (the Olympian) because we won't be able to anchor marker boats."

Currently less than 1 per cent of English waters are protected, the BBC said, while if all the sites had been approved that figure would be more than 25 per cent.

PA

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultan...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£22000 - £25900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is expanding and th...

Recruitment Genius: Corporate Account Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Corporate Account Manager is ...

Recruitment Genius: Chef de Partie

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This award winning conference venues provider...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders