Consultation on policies to inform updated guidance for Marine Protected Area assessments

Closed 1 Apr 2024

Opened 9 Feb 2024


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is seeking feedback on policies to update guidance on Marine Protected Area (MPA) assessments. 

In July 2021, we consulted on best practice guidance for developing compensatory measures in relation to MPAs.  We are now consulting on draft policies to inform updated guidance using this feedback to ensure MPA assessments are proportionate, compliant and robust and allow us to meet our dual net zero and biodiversity goals.   



Why your views matter

The final guidance will apply to all industries proposing a development that may negatively impact MPAs or their features. We are seeking views on the draft definitions and principles in the consultation to help improve the effectiveness of the final guidance to support the delivery of compensatory measures at a strategic scale for marine industries planning to apply for consent within the next 18 months.

We want to know what you think about our proposed updates. We are particularly keen to hear from marine industries affected by the consenting and planning process on:

  • how applicable and feasible the guidance is
  • whether you think this would reduce delays to the consenting process

We have developed these updates for:

  • regulatory bodies
  • statutory nature conservation bodies
  • other public authorities whose functions may affect MPAs
  • marine developers

What happens next

We will review the consultation responses on the draft definitions and principles to inform the updated guidance. The guidance document which will be published later this year.


  • All Marine Users
  • Devolved Administrations
  • Energy sector
  • All Defra staff and ALBs
  • Non-Government Organisation
  • Consultants
  • Stakeholders


  • Natural environment
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Marine
  • Marine Conservation Zones
  • Marine licensing
  • Marine Conservation
  • Consultations
  • Impact Assessments
  • DEFRA Policy