Royal Navy signs up to protect UK marine conservation areas


HMS Kent © Royal NavyThe Royal Navy, after three year’s consultation with JNCC, has adopted a new approach to minimising its impact on the environment that could become a blueprint for other naval services.


The Environmental Protection Guidelines (Maritime) (EPG(M)) are an interactive military layer of electronic charting which provide advice on the suitability of military activities in the vicinity of designated marine protected areas (MPAs) across UK waters. By following these guidelines, ship planners and operators can be confident that their actions minimise the risks to the environment and are not contravening legal restrictions.


The EPG(M) provides details for consideration across all activities undertaken by the Royal Navy near MPAs, including those taking place in the air, on land, at sea or underwater.


Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Capability) Rear Admiral Duncan Potts, said: “The marine environment faces an array of increasing pressures and expanding legal protection aims to safeguard certain species and areas. The Royal Navy is not exempt from this legislation and our planners, ships, staff and aircrew face a growing range of environmental considerations, not only during training but also when on operations. EPG(M) works within our electronic charting system to offer clear and interactive guidance to our people when planning so that they can continue to deliver the UK’s maritime defence priorities safely. 


I believe that this is a real advance and further tangible evidence of the effort being expended by the Royal Navy to protect the environment and minimise our ecological impact.”


It is thought that the EPG(M) is the first of its kind among naval forces. Currently it offers guidance for the UK marine area only, but work is underway to expand the tool to cover the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, and European Union waters.


JNCC has praised the actions of the Royal Navy in this initiative to improve the protection it provides for the marine environment.


Dr John Goold, JNCC Director of Marine Advice, said: “The Royal Navy has taken a proactive and innovative approach to minimising the potential environmental impact of its marine activities. The UK statutory nature conservation bodies strongly welcome and support this positive approach and the Navy’s continued consideration of the marine environment.”


Contact File


Beth Henshall

MPA Implementation Adviser

Tel: +44 (0) 1224 266597


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