Lundy Island becomes England’s first area with this protection
The island is one of England’s most stunning marine habitats, and its new status establishes it as the first example of the new approach to marine protection being taken under the Marine and Coastal Access Act.
Dr Helen Phillips, Natural England’s Chief Executive, said: “As England’s first Marine Conservation Zone, Lundy represents the first step in delivering the marine protection ambitions of the Marine and Coastal Access Act, and it is fitting that an area of such obvious environmental importance is being designated in this way.”
The seas around Lundy are home to a vast array of wildlife, such as grey seals, red band fish, crawfish and at least eight species of coral. It is the only place in the UK where five cup corals exist together.
The importance of the island was recognised by its designation as a Marine Nature Reserve (MNR) in 1986, and in 2000 it was also designated as a Special Area of Conservation.
The new Lundy Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) will cover the same area as the former Marine Nature Reserve (and is being created by the automatic legal transition from MNR to MCZ).
Helen Phillips added: “Lundy is a showcase of what a well protected marine environment can become. Today’s designation ushers in a new era of marine protection.”
Lundy’s new status will contribute towards the creation of the network of ecologically coherent and well-managed marine protected areas by 2012.