Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee submit their advice to Defra on recommended Marine Conservation Zones


Sponges, anemones etc, & tompot, Plymouth Sound 1 @ Paul Naylor

In September 2011 the four regional MCZ projects submitted recommendations for Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). These recommendations came from groups of sea users and those with an interest in the sea through a series of discussions and negotiations. 


Natural England and JNCC, as the Government’s advisers on the natural environment, reviewed these recommendations.  On 18th July 2012 we submitted our formal advice to Government on the science behind these recommendations, the quality of the ecological data and our views on the overall regional MCZ Project process. Details of JNCC and Natural England advice can be found below, however, since this advice was provided Defra has held a formal public consultation and JNCC has provided additional post consultation advice for sites proposed for designation in 2013 (pMCZs). Information on this most recent advice can be viewed here .


On the whole Natural England and JNCC support the recommendations made by the regional MCZ projects since they broadly meet the original ecological criteria, subject to some additional suggestions proposed in the advice. 


We have produced an executive summary of the advice and a series of factsheets about the MCZ project.


A full copy of JNCC and Natural Englands’ Advice is available at the following link.


The Advice will be considered by Defra alongside other advice and evidence:


Advice from the regional MCZ projects

  • their final reports (submitted to Natural England, JNCC and the Science Advisory Panel (SAP)  in September 2011) and;
  • their Impact Assessment (submitted to Defra 18th July 2012);  


Advice from independent scientists the Science Advisory Panel and Independent Evidence Review Group (IERG) and;


Additional evidence from environmental surveys and assessments carried out since the regional MCZ projects submitted their recommendations.


For further information about the advice produced by Natural England and JNCC please email:


For further information about the public consultation held between December 2012 and March 2013 and the next steps please Defra’s website or contact Defra