New law improves UK marine protection framework

Marine species and habitats in UK coastal waters will enjoy better protection after a new marine law covering England and Wales entered force on Thursday. Scotland passed a marine law in May 2008, while Northern Ireland has yet to introduce one.

Under the Marine and Coastal Access Act, the UK government will have to designate a network of protected areas to conserve the marine environment along its coastline.

By bringing together an array of existing rules and regulations, the new law will make it easier for the UK to move towards the EU goal of seas achieving “good environmental status” by 2020. The UK was one of seven North Sea countries that signed up to an action plan to cut marine pollution last month.

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