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We are currently seeking full support for the Marine Charter from all MPs in the current Parliament.

In the previous Parliament, the following MPs supported Wildlife and Countryside Link's call for the swift designation of a representative and well managed Ecologically Coherent Network of Marine Protected Areas in UK seas by 2016.

We the undersigned support Wildlife and Countryside Link’s call for the swift designation of a representative and well managed Ecologically
Coherent Network of Marine Protected Areas in UK seas by 2016.We call on this and future Governments to ensure that this network meets international principles on coherence, and represents the full range of features in the UK seas as required by the relevant Marine Acts.

The full network must include ambitious proposals within the commitment to two future tranches of Marine Conservation Zones in English Seas in 2015/16, alongside wider marine protected areas, and must be well managed to maintain sites that are in good condition and recover those that are damaged.

Such a network is essential not only to stem the alarming decline in marine habitats and species, but also to ensure that the enormous social and economic benefits derived from marine goods and services can be realised for generations to come.

Rt Hon. Ben Bradshaw MP
(Former Labour Defra Minister)

Rt Hon. Caroline Spelman MP

Rt Hon. Sir John Randall MP

Debbie Abrahams MP

Peter Aldous MP

David Amess MP

David Anderson MP

Rt Hon. James Arbuthnot MP

Norman Baker MP

Sir Kevin Baron MP

Hugh Bayley MP

Dame Anne Begg MP

Clive Betts MP

Lord Black of Brentwood

Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP

Nicola Blackwood MP

Sir Peter Bottomley MP

Graham Brady MP

Annette Brooke OBE MP

Lord Brooke

Nic Brown MP

Russell Brown MP

Fiona Bruce MP

Robert Buckland MP

Rt Hon. Simon Burns MP

Alan Campbell MP

Neil Carmichael MP

Martin Caton MP

Lord Chorley

Katy Clark MP

Lord Clark of Windemere

Oliver Colvile MP

Michael Connarty MP

Rosie Cooper MP

Jeremy Corbyn MP

David Crausby MP

Lord Crickhowell

Alex Cunningham MP

Sir Tony Cunningham MP

Nic Dakin MP

Geraint Davies MP

Rt Hon. John Denham MP

Caroline Dineage MP

Jim Dobbin MP

Frank Dobson MP

Nigel Dodds MP

Brian Donohoe MP

Frank Doran MP

Jim Dowd MP

Mark Durkan MP

Lord Dykes of Harrow Weald

Natascha Engel MP

Graeme Evans MP

Tim Farron MP

Rt Hon. Frank Field MP

Paul Flynn MP

Mark Francois MP

Stephen Gilbert MP

Rt Hon. Cheryl Gillan MP

Richard Benyon MP
(Former Conservative Defra Minister)

Andrew George MP

Adrian Sanders MP

Sheila Gilmore MP

Roger Godsiff MP

Kate Green MP

Nia Griffith MP

Andrew Gwynne MP

Duncan Hames MP

Fabian Hamilton MP

Sir Nick Harvey MP

Lord Haworth

David Heath CBE MP

Gordon Henderson MP

Julie Hilling MP

Baroness Hilton

George Hollingbery MP

Martin Horwood MP

Stewart Hosie MP

Baroness Howarth

George Howarth MP

Baron Hunt of Chesterton

Mark Hunter MP

Julian Huppert MP

Glenda Jackson MP

Cathy Jamieson MP

Bernard Jenkin MP

Baroness Jones

Lord Judd

Rt Hon. Sir Gerald Kaufman MP

Barbara Keeley MP

Mark Lazarowicz MP

John Leech MP

Jeremy Lefroy MP

Charlotte Leslie MP

Emma Lewell-Buck MP

Baroness Lister of Burtersett

The Earl of Listowel

Naomi Long MP

Tim Loughton MP

Dr Caroline Lucas MP

John Mann MP

Lord May of Oxford

Paul Maynard MP

Sir Alan Meale MP

Steve McCabe MP

Michael McCann MP

Kerry McCarthy MP

Jason McCartney MP

William McCrea MP

John McDonnell MP

Liz McInnes MP

Ann McKechin MP

Ian McKenzie MP

Catherine McKinnell MP

Fiona McTaggart MP

Andrew Miller MP

Baroness Miller

Madeleine Moon MP

Roger Williams MP CBE
(Liberal Democrat Defra Spokesperson)

Zac Goldsmith MP

Dr Alan Whitehead MP

Penny Mordaunt MP

Jessica Morden MP

Graeme Morrice MP

Grahame Morris MP

Stephen Mosley MP

Greg Mulholland MP

Paul Murphy MP

Ian Murray MP

Sheryll Murray MP

Sarah Newton MP

Caroline Nokes MP

Dr Matthew Offord MP

Sandra Osborne MP

Rt Hon. Sir Richard Ottaway MP

Mark Prisk MP

John Pugh MP

Simon Reevell MP

Alan Reid MP

Linda Riordan MP

John Robertson MP

Lord Rooker

Andrew Rosindell MP

Chris Ruane MP

Rt Hon. Dame Joan Ruddock MP

Sir Bob Russell MP

Alison Seabeck MP

Jim Sheridan MP

Gavin Shuker MP

Andy Slaughter MP

Andrew Smith MP

Henry Smith MP

Bishop of St. Albans

Lord Stoddart

Lord Storey

Gary Streeter MP

Rt Hon. Sir Andrew Stunell OBE MP

Rt Hon. Sir Peter Tapsell MP

Mike Thornton MP

Justin Tomlinson MP

Valerie Vaz MP

Charles Walker MP

Joan Walley MP

Mike Weatherley MP

Mike Weir MP

John Whittingdale OBE MP

Hywel Williams MP

Mark Williams MP

Stephen Williams MP

Chris Williamson MP

Pete Wishart MP

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP

Mike Wood MP

Simon Wright MP

Tim Yeo MP

Baroness Young of Old Scone

What is the
marine charter?

As an island nation, our seas and coastline have defined much of our history and our culture. We have some of the most colourful, diverse and interesting marine life anywhere in the world.

However, the ability of our seas to cope with the pressures we put on them – whether over fishing, industrial pollution or the impacts of climate change - is limited. A hundred years ago vast native oyster fields the size of Wales carpeted the Irish Sea; huge fleets of vessels supported the ports of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth as they chased enormous schools of herring in the North Sea; Bluefin Tuna, now critically endangered, used to be abundant around our shores. Yet, despite us being aware of such dramatic changes in a lifetime, we remain a long way from delivering the fully ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas necessary to arrest this alarming decline.

The Marine Charter is an initiative of Link’s Marine Working Group which seeks to reiterate the strong cross-party support for a representative and well-managed ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in UK seas by 2016. The landmark Marine and Coastal Access Act, 2009 – and subsequent Scotland Marine Act (2010) and Northern Ireland Marine Act 2013 – was passed with overwhelming cross-party support, and established the provision to create a network of marine protected areas which represents the full range of features in UK waters.
While the designation of the first 27 Marine Conservation Zones in English Seas in November 2013 is a welcome start, we are still a long way from delivering the truly ecologically coherent network in UK seas. As we edge towards the end of this Parliament, it is vital that the support, and need, for a truly ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas is not lost. This network is essential, not only to stem the alarming decline in marine habitats and species, but also to ensure that the enormous social and economic benefits derived from marine goods and services can be realised for generations to come.

Parliamentarians can add their voice, by signing the Marine Charter, to the broad and substantial cross-party constituency who support the designation of an ecologically coherent network of MPAs in UK seas. In the development of the landmark 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act, more than 627,000 people supported the call for more marine protected areas. Over 40,000 responded to the recent Defra consultation on the first tranche of Marine Conservation Zones – one of the largest ever responses to a Defra consultation. 350,000 signatures were delivered to Downing Street in July 2013 in support of this full network.

Now is the most important time for UK marine conservation. We have never before, and may never again have such an opportunity to safeguard the remnants of our, once rich, marine habitats and wildlife.

Joan Edwards
Chair, Wildlife and Countryside Link Marine Working Group

Become a WCL member

Membership of Wildlife and Countryside Link is open to national and international voluntary or other non-profit organisations based in England. Member organisations must be able to demonstrate an interest in furthering the work of Link, and their aims must include the protection of wildlife, landscape and the quiet enjoyment and appreciation of the countryside. Individual members of the public are not eligible to join Link, but may be interested in joining one of Link's member organisations.


“Greenpeace values the role that Link plays in convening for wildlife groups in the UK. Without it there would be no common umbrella for the groups engaged to work on issues of common interest” Doug Parr, Chief Scientist and Policy Director, Greenpeace UK

“The National Trust sees Wildlife and Countryside Link as a valued partner in making the case for the importance of the natural environment to politicians and policy makers” Dame Helen Ghosh DCB, Director General, National Trust

“Wildlife and Countryside Link is a highly effective coalition bringing together a wide range of voices to speak on behalf of the natural environment. In this complex and politically driven world we need our individual voices to find as many ways as possible of coming together to achieve a united powerful and influential champion for the environment” Martin Spray OBE, Chief Executive, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

“The RSPCA appreciates the work of Link as it enables us to work in a broad coalition with many other groups we would not normally liaise with, to give clear hard hitting arguments to government and other policy makers with the backing of millions of supporters” David Bowles, Head of Public Affairs, RSPCA

“The ability of the Wildlife Gardening Forum to engage with the wider body of environmental organisations in the UK - both large and small - is greatly enhanced by membership of Link. Being members enables us to work with these organisations to provide its support to Link campaigns and the responses that Link co-ordinates to national and international consultations” Dr Andrew Salisbury, Chair, Wildlife Gardening Forum

“We are a small/medium sized organisation with a very wide ranging remit. We simply don’t have the resources to keep abreast of all the policy areas that impact on our work and make a meaningful response to each one. Link keep us informed of current policy debates and when and how to influence them. We gain enormously by being able to feed our views in where it most matters to us and review the considered responses proposed by Link so that we can add our support appropriately” Jill Nelson, Chief Executive, Peoples Trust for Endangered Species

“Link is an important forum for bringing together organisations from across the environmental and conservation sectors, and plays a valuable role in forging joint positions that we are able to advocate to Government and other decision-makers” David Nussbaum, Chief Executive, WWF-UK

“ClientEarth often partners with Link’s members and these partnerships ensure each organisation works together for the best possible environmental outcome. For example, campaigns and research by other Link members can be strengthened through our legal and scientific arguments” Catherine Weller, Wildlife Conservation Project Leader, Client Earth