Consultation on the Third Tranche of Marine Conservation Zones.

Closed 20 Jul 2018

Opened 8 Jun 2018


This consultation is to seek your views on the proposals to designate 41 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) and to add new features for conservation in 12 existing MCZs.

The UK is surrounded by some of the richest and most diverse sea life in the world. The sites proposed in this consultation protect a range of rare and threatened species and habitats found in our seas, including: seahorses in seagrass meadows; blue mussel beds supporting sea snails and crabs; cold-water coral reefs with starfish, anemones and sponges; and deep water mud habitats with cockles and sea urchins.

Together with other types of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), these proposed sites will substantially complete the ecologically coherent network of MPAs around our shores, helping to deliver the UK Government and Administrations’ vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.

We have been working with the Devolved Administrations, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England to take stock of the habitats and species protected in existing and planned MPAs and fill residual gaps within the network. The features protected in these proposed sites have been chosen to fill gaps in the current network, such as where a species or habitat is currently not protected in a region, or where only a very small proportion is protected.

The proposed network will cover approximately 11,700 km2, bringing the total area of protection to over 32,000 square km.

The closing date for the consultation is 20th July 2018.

If you would like to keep in contact with us, to express interest in this any other Defra consultation. Please give us your details through the link below.

Why your views matter

Long-snouted seahorse © Doug Anderson

The purpose of this consultation is to seek your views on whether it would be appropriate to designate each of the proposed 41 MCZs in the third tranche. We are also seeking your views on adding features for protection to 12 sites designated in the first and second tranche. It is also an opportunity to provide any relevant scientific or economic evidence that may not have previously been available

We welcome any additional evidence that stakeholders wish to submit on ecological value and the social and economic impacts. Evidence will need to meet certain quality standards. More information on this is provided in the consultation document.

The evidence that Defra collects during this consultation will be reviewed to ensure sites with important or unique marine life and geological features are protected, whilst ensuring long term economic security for coastal businesses.

Final decisions on which sites will be designated will take into account any relevant information submitted as part of this consultation. We will publish details of evidence received and a full Government response to these together with the final decisions on each site within 12 months. This will be placed on the consultations section of the Government web site.


  • Charities/Voluntary Organisations
  • AWBs
  • Environmental campaigners
  • Animal welfare campaigners
  • Trade Unions
  • Licensed Gangmasters
  • All Marine Users
  • Government Departments
  • Government Agencies
  • Devolved Administrations
  • Coastal Members of Parliament
  • Coastal local authorities
  • National Park Authorities
  • Recreation sector
  • Coastal Management sector
  • Ports and Harbour Authorities and Estuaries
  • Water/water Industry sector
  • IFCAs
  • Angling Organisations and Trade
  • Fishing Focus individual recipients
  • Environmental professional services
  • Households
  • Non-Household Customers
  • Consumer Groups
  • Commercial Fisheries Organisations
  • Fisheries Producer Organisations
  • Business/Private Sector
  • Policy Teams
  • Local Authorities
  • All Defra staff and ALBs
  • Walkers
  • Fishermen
  • Leisure industry
  • Tourism industry
  • Shellfish Cultivators
  • Land Agents
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Professional and Membership Organisations/Agencies
  • Public Bodies
  • Consultants
  • Beach Users


  • Natural environment
  • Local nature partnerships
  • Biodiversity
  • Plants
  • Animals
  • Tree and plant health
  • Climate change
  • Green infrastructure
  • Ecosystems services
  • Green economy
  • Sustainable development
  • National Adaptation Programme
  • Marine
  • Marine Conservation Zones
  • Marine licensing
  • Common Fisheries Policy
  • Fish stocks
  • Shellfish
  • Sea angling
  • Waste and recycling
  • Water quality
  • Water Bill
  • Water conservation
  • Bathing waters
  • Sewerage
  • Chemicals and pesticides
  • Local environments
  • Resource Efficiency
  • Pollution Sector
  • Science
  • Conservation
  • Holiday Accommodation
  • House Building and Planning
  • Construction
  • Watercourse maintenance
  • Marine Conservation
  • Consultations
  • Impact Assessments
  • DEFRA Policy
  • Policy and Delivery
  • Marine fisheries
  • Skills, education, training and new entrants
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Shellfish
  • Retailers
  • Access to countryside and coast
  • Inland waterways
  • Rural economy and communities
  • Rural Development Programme for England
  • National Parks
  • Nature reserves
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Common land
  • Conservation
  • Rural Properties
  • Recreational sector
  • Non-native species
  • Whales and dolphins