Dorset Wildlife Trust is appealing to the public for support in a government consultation to designate 41 new sites as Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the waters around England.

The government is running a public consultation period until July 20, and it is strongly recommended both by scientists and the Wildlife Trusts that all of the proposed new sites are designated as MCZs.

Marine Conservation Zones are established under the Marine and Coastal Access Act, and are crucial to the protection of some of our most rare and threatened marine wildlife.

Currently, there are 50 MCZs in the country, with more urgently needed to complete the network of Marine Protected Areas in England. The new sites are recommended in order to rectify the underrepresentation of certain species and habitats, such as particular sediment types, and reduce the risk of further environmental damage.

The proposal is of special significance to Dorset: six out of the 41 proposed sites are situated in the county. If approved, these will be in addition to the sites designated as MCZs in Dorset in 2013: Chesil Beach & Stennis Ledges MCZ, South Dorset MCZ and Poole Rocks MCZ.

Together, these areas represent an impressive and stunning range of submarine landscapes and habitats which are often less appreciated and more overlooked than their terrestrial counterparts.

Wildlife found there includes black bream, spiny seahorses and peacock’s tail seaweed. However, the importance of not only the Dorset sites but all of those proposed to be included is huge. Due to the extent of the damage caused to our marine environments, time is now running out to reverse the significant losses already suffered, and increased protection is urgently needed.

Public support in this consultation is vital in influencing the government’s decision - every voice counts! Please support us in protecting England’s precious marine areas by giving your ‘wave of support’ and sign the online petition at www, by July 20.

Dorset Wildlife Trust is also asking South Dorset constituents in support of the campaign to make their voices heard to the South Dorset MP, Richard Drax, by writing to him about the issue.

You can find out more about all 41 sites across England by visiting, and for more information about the proposal’s Dorset sites, please visit

Niina Silvennoinen, DWT