Blue Marine Foundation has called for the creation of national parks in the waters around the UK coast to help conserve fragile marine habitats.
In a new report, entitled National Marine Parks: A Vision for British Seas, Blue Marine Foundation has identified 10 areas around the UK coast that it said could be designated national parks within the next 10 years. These include the greater Thames London Gateway; East Anglia Suffolk, the Wash and north Norfolk; north-east England, Tyne to Tees, Northumberland and Berwickshire; north-west England, Cumbria and the Solway Firth; the Severn estuary; Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; Wales, Pembrokeshire; the Argyll coast and islands in Scotland; and the crown dependency of Jersey.
Designation of national parks in the waters around the UK coast could bring greater protections for habitats, help attract funding, and would require local authorities to make access easier for people, according to the Blue Marine Foundation.
Charles Clover, executive director of the Blue Marine Foundation, said: “It is remarkable that we have no parks in the sea, after 70 years of national parks on land. Our natural heritage is right there, just off the beach, but paradoxically the public is hardly involved in the enjoyment or the stewardship of this island nation’s greatest asset.”
Britain has 15 National Parks but only one of them reflects the island’s connection with the sea: Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in Wales, which was designated a National Park in 1952. Blue Marine Foundation says that a National Marine Park, as envisaged by the charity, would draw together pre-existing, valuable designations such as Marine Protected Areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, alongside carefully managed commercial and recreational uses.
The aims of a national framework for British seas, based on BLUE’s initial research, would celebrate the UK’s natural and cultural maritime heritage; connect people’s lives with the sea to improve health and wellbeing; promote better understanding of life below water; build awareness of, and support for, existing conservation designations; and engage local communities in solving local challenges and generate a stronger sense of stewardship.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.