JNCC and Natural England submit formal advice on recommended MCZs


On 18 July, JNCC and Natural England presented their formal advice on recommended Marine Conservation Zones (rMCZs) to Defra. This is the latest step towards the Government’s objective to create a well-managed network of Marine Protected Areas by the end of 2016.


For two years, four regional MCZ projects worked extensively with specially formed groups of regional stakeholders whose activities might be affected by MCZs. These four regional MCZ projects submitted their final recommendations to JNCC and Natural England in September 2011 and since then these recommendations have been reviewed.


The advice is JNCC and Natural England’s technical assessment of the rMCZs, the science behind these recommendations, the quality of the ecological data, and our views on the overall regional MCZ project process. Our advice will be considered by Defra ministers alongside other advice, including the recommendations made by the regional MCZ projects, advice from independent scientists (the Science Advisory Panel), additional information from environmental surveys, and assessments of the possible economic, social and environmental impacts of designation.


On the whole Natural England and JNCC support the recommendations made by the regional MCZ projects, subject to some additional suggestions proposed in the advice.  Our advice indicates that good progress has been made towards achieving an ecologically coherent network assuming all the recommended MCZs are designated (as amended by our advice).


With the delivery of the formal advice from Natural England and JNCC, Defra will continue evaluating all the evidence before preparing a proposal for a three-month public consultation due to start in December 2012.


Ministers will make their decisions on which sites to designate after they have analysed the results of the public consultation alongside the other evidence. Defra plan to designate the first tranche of sites in summer 2013, and it is expected that further sites will follow at a later stage.



Fascinating facts about wildlife and habitats to be protected by MCZs

Marine Conservation Zones won’t just protect rare and threatened species but a range of biodiversity, habitats and geologicalStalked Hali © Paul Kay features. Here are a few interesting facts about some of the many habitats and species that will be protected by MCZs once designated by Government:


  • The Kaleidoscope jellyfish lives attached to seaweeds. To move it uses one of its tentacles as an anchor and ‘cartwheels’ to a new position! 

  • A sea-fan anemone has a very unusual method of reproduction: it creeps along a rock leaving behind a train of fragments from the base of its body, which grow into new anemones!

    Horse mussel bed © Paul Kay


  • Nearly 400 different types of marine plants and animals have been found living in horse mussel beds.


View the MCZ Project features in our online MCZ features catalogue.


Further information

The MCZ Advice Package is available to read on both JNCC and Natural England’s websites.


If you have further questions about Natural England and JNCC’s work on MCZs please .


If you have further questions about what happens next or about the public consultation please email .


If you are interested in finding out more about the progress of the Marine Conservation Zone Project you can read the most recent edition of the MCZ Project newsletter and sign-up to receive future editions.


There are equivalent projects to recommend new Marine Protected Areas in Welsh and Scottish seas which JNCC are also involved with. You can also find out more about these on our website: MCZ Project Wales and the Scottish MPA Project.


Contact File


Hannah Carr

Marine Protected Areas Adviser

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866937


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