MCZ’s Current Status

Tranche 3 Sites:

Taken from a Spring 2016 Defra publication, link here:

Our aim for the third tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) is to complete the Blue Belt, filling all remaining ecological gaps in the network of Marine Protected Areas. We’ll be drawing sites mainly from the remaining recommendations made by Regional Project stakeholders. If there are gaps identified within the network that can’t be filled by any of the remaining recommended sites then Natural England and JNCC will develop alternative options.

As with the first and second tranche, we’ll work closely with local and national marine stakeholders throughout this year before the formal consultation. These discussions will help us understand the benefits and impacts of designating potential sites and to consider options for achieving the conservation aims while minimising the impact on sea users. We’ll then select sites for formal consultation in late summer 2017 and designate sites in 2018. In the consultation we’ll provide as much information as possible on what the management measures could be to help stakeholders to understand what designation will mean for them.”

The Boat Owners’ Response Group welcomes the intention to understand benefits and impacts of designation, a cost-benefit analysis in effect. This is in line with the provision in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 that “In considering whether it is desirable to designate an area as an MCZ, the appropriate authority may have regard to any economic or social consequences of doing so”.

Tranche 2 Sites Designation:

In January 2016 all 23 Tranche 2 sites were designated as MCZ’s, making a total of 50 MCZ’s to date. A list and map of the T2 MCZ’s may be found here. A (rather complicated) interactive map of all Marine Protected Areas may be found here.

Tranche 2 Sites Consultation:

At the end of January 2015, Defra announced that 23 sites are going forward for consultation on designation as MCZ’s, including The Needles (Alum, Totland and Colwell Bays). However Studland Bay and three stretches of the Isle of Wight Solent coast, covering Bembridge to beyond Yarmouth, are “not considered suitable” for inclusion in the 2nd tranche. Defra’s explanation for Studland is quoted here, for the other three it is similar:

“Why this candidate site is not being proposed for designation in the second tranche
The designation of the site is expected to impact on commercial fishing, local port and harbour activity and recreational boating activities, with high costs associated with the port and harbour sector and recreational boating. Local stakeholders have also raised further concerns regarding the potential impact on local shore-based businesses if there are restrictions on recreational boating in the area; such potential impacts have not been quantified.
The site has a history of local stakeholder disagreement with a divergence of views regarding the protection of the site. It will be necessary for further detailed engagement with local interests to see if effective and successful measures can be developed, and provide further clarity on management options prior to designation.
We consider that further work is needed to explore the scope for developing local solutions on this site before it can be proposed for designation.

Further consideration
Defra will undertake further discussions with local interests and additional information will be gathered ahead of consideration for inclusion in the third tranche.”

Full details of the consultation process, and of the sites, both those going forward to consultation and those withheld, can be found at