CPRE Sussex has written to all Sussex MPs, Nick Boles MP Planning Minister and Eric Pickles MP Communities Secretary calling on them to respond as a matter of urgency to fears that government policy and practice will fail to protect the Sussex countryside.
The UK's sea user stakeholder groups were disappointed to learn that they only intended to include 31 of the 127 proposed Marine Conservation Zones for adoption in 2013. In response to the consultation, CPRE Sussex submitted the following submission:
27 March 2013
Marine Conservation Zones – Consultation
We note with dismay the Government’s proposal to adopt just 31 Marine Conservation Zones around the coast of England and Wales in 2013. Whilst there is mention of this being a first step, it is essential that the Government takes a far more positive approach : just 31 proposed MCZs compared to the network of 127 zones recommended by the sea user stakeholder groups shows a distinct lack of commitment. As with many issues we wonder what the point is in having stakeholder groups and the like and then getting nowhere near to accepting their recommendations in a sensible timescale. Bodies such as ours in CPRE Sussex are significantly volunteer based with people having a deep commitment to issues and we hope that this Consultation will be taken more seriously.
The sea is linked around our coast. It is not split into sections and it is clear that the ecologically coherent network of MCZs strongly recommended is based on that. Even from the administrative and policing point-of-view, it would also seem far more sensible to have a more coherent, linked approach, let alone the beneficial impact on the environment. How will the public understand that fragmented nature where our Sussex coastline seems to be a sad example with such limited coverage by the MCZs proposed for adoption in 2013?
We make the comparison with the billions of pounds the country has invested through our water companies in the enhanced treatment of sewage effluent discharged to our rivers and direct to estuaries and to the sea. Why was that supported by our Government? Was it to enhance the marine environment or just the reluctant acceptance of a diktat from Brussels? We do not understand why there appears to be no comprehensive, joined up thinking.
As the Sussex Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, we see the marine environment as important to our local aims and would want to see the MCZs implemented nationally. We want to have a vibrant and thriving countryside and we see the coastal waters as a key element. What could be better than the coastal waters and sea bed being ecologically excellent with flora, fish fauna and all other marine organisms and creatures? This would enhance tourism; boost the enjoyment by our residents of their coast and countryside; and provide a sound basis for a more successful fishing industry, all of which would provide socio-economic benefits to the local economy thereby supporting our countryside and those living in the area. In these financially straitened times surely this would be a wise investment?
We look forward to hearing of a much enlarged programme of adoption for 2013.
CPRE Sussex Countryside Trust, Brighton and Hove District Chair.
Image above: Proposed conservation zones off the Sussex coast
Environmental groups met to discuss fracking in Lenham on 26 January, led by CPRE Protect Kent. Keith Taylor MEP, Brenda Pollack (Friends of the Earth) and Georgia Wrighton (CPRE Sussex) gave recommendations at the meeting for actions, resources and events to raise concern about fracking.
Saturday’s Spring Conference ‘Futureproofing’ was a great success. Around 90 people attended to listen to a great line up of speakers including Nick Herbert MP and Neil Sinden CPRE Director of Policy and Campaigns. You can view the presentations here.