Richard Benyon, Natural Environment Minister, visited the South Downs National Park on 12 December to launch the public consultation into the Government’s proposed Marine Conservation Zones.
The Beachy Head West Marine Conservation Zone is one of 31 proposed sites which aim to protect the most sensitive marine wildlife sites. The proposed zone joins on to the South Downs National Park and extends from the iconic Seven Sisters and Beachy Head seascape across to Brighton. It would safeguard the Ouse and Cuckmere estuaries as well as the offshore chalk shelf, characterised by underwater ridges and gullies which protect a rich variety of marine wildlife.
The plans have been announced exactly 25 years after the Sussex Heritage Coast area, which runs from Seaford to Eastbourne, was designated as a Voluntary Marine Conservation Area.
Phil Belden, Director of Operations for the South Downs National Park, said:
“The proposed Beachy Head West Marine Conservation Zone covers one of the most iconic marine areas in the country and is home to rare and vulnerable wildlife such as the velvet crab, squat lobster and the boring piddock. It’s in everyone’s interest to see this area properly protected and everyone who loves and cares for our precious coast – for recreation, fishing and conservation – should get behind this proposal.”
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