A forum for communication amongst Protected Wreck Licensees and Project Teams
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DEFRA Consultation on proposals to designate Marine Conservation Zones in 2013
DEFRA is currently consulting on its proposals to designate the first tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in English inshore and English and Welsh offshore waters: Balanced Seas, Net Gains, Finding Sanctuary, Irish Sea. It seeks comment from everyone with an interest in the marine environment and coastal communities.
Whilst the APWL endorses the general conservation principles behind MCZs, we have valid concerns that legitimate and vital archaeological activity on sites that are designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act (and also on undesignated sites) could be adversely affected by the creation of MCZs, especially since the management regime for the zones is not yet clear.
We have particular concerns that proposals for reference zones could entirely halt activity on specific archaeological sites including some existing designated wrecks. This could result in the loss of some of the Nation’s most important and well studied wrecks and also prevent the discovery of important new sites in heritage-rich locations. It is worth noting that (1) the total area of sea bed covered by the restricted zones around protected wreck sites is totally insignificant when compared to the size of the proposed MCZs and so allowing continued archaeological activity would have no measurable effect (2) the total area of seabed that has ever been disturbed by archaeological activity is probably less than that destroyed by a single inshore trawl deployment.
This consultation is our opportunity to have our say and to attempt to influence decisions on MCZ designation to ensure that the zones and their management do not restrict legitimate and vital archaeological activity or put heritage at risk.
We urge all Licensees, Licence Groups, License team members and other interested parties to submit individual response to the consultation, detailing our concerns. Submissions have to be submitted on a specific form (MS Word format) which is available as Annex H of the Consultation documents. A generic submission has been drafted and is available from the Downloads links on the RH side of this page, together with an editable version of the response text should you wish to personalise your response or add extra information.
Responses can be emailed to: email@example.com or sent by post to: MCZ Team, c/o Post Room Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR
The deadline for receipt of consultations is Midnight on 31st March 2013
Comment now to protect our Heritage and access to it!