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The Marine Working Group works to ensure better protection of marine wildlife and effective management of our seas by seeking the full implementation of the Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCAA) 2009. The Group also addresses the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and marine spatial planning, and monitors the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Chair: (Vacant)
Vice-chair: Alec Taylor, WWF-UK
Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager: Cecily Spelling, Link

Update from the Group

The Marine Working Group continues to work towards seeking the development of an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) across the UK by 2020. The Group submitted evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee on this subject at the end of last year. The Group has also been active in helping to shape regional Marine Plans by responding to a key consultation on the draft South Marine Plan. In March the Group completed an MMO survey on the first round of development plans for the NE, NW, SE and SW of England.

The Group is currently contributing to the Legal Strategy Group and Environment Links UK work on responding for the Withdrawal Bill, to ensure that as many EU laws as possible are embedded or remain in UK law.

One of the Group’s primary tasks is looking at ways to protect and enhance the provisions of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) as it enters its second review cycle. Members of the Group met with Defra at the end of June to discuss how these will develop, and the Group has organised a one-day workshop in October to develop some Link proposals to contribute to a Defra consultation on the subject, expected early next year.

In February, the Group also contributed to a comprehensive and widely supported Environment Links UK and Microbeads Coalition response to a Defra consultation on proposals to ban the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products. The Government has now published its response and committed to a ban from 2018, representing the strongest ban on microbeads in the world. In April, the Group submitted evidence to an Environmental Audit Committee inquiry on effective disposal of plastic bottles and coffee cups. Michael Gove has since acknowledged the need for action on this issue, stating he was looking to implement a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles as soon as possible. In addition, the Group will be exploring with members the coordinated management of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for harbour porpoises, with a particular focus on the harmful impacts of noise on these small cetaceans.

For further information, contact Cecily Spelling, Link’s Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager.

Last updated: 01 August 2017

Useful links

Link's Marine Charter

23 new Marine Conservation Zones designated in 2016 - is this enough?