The UK’s Marine Strategy is the overarching framework for delivering marine policy in the UK. As part of this process, a ‘programme of measures’ is published every six years which sets out the actions the UK Governments will take to recover our seas (or in policy-speak the actions to deliver Good Environmental Status - GES - for UK seas).
This week, alongside colleagues and campaigners from across the UK, Wildlife and Countryside Link submitted a joint response to the Government’s consultation on its proposed programme of measures. Delivered at the end of what the government claimed was a ‘super year’ for our seas, we are disappointed to report that this 124 page document is heavy on words but light on content. Our own assessment is that what is proposed will be insufficient to improve the health of our waters beyond the grave findings set out in 2019 (where the UK failed to meet 11 out of 15 targets for GES).
Following the closure of this consultation, the government has an opportunity to review and revise this aspect of the strategy and deliver a programme that will truly chart a course towards the recovery of UK seas.
Our response contains recommendations applicable across all devolved nations that are drafted and supported by marine policy specialists from 14 of the UK’s foremost environmental conservation groups. These proposals, which aim to restore our polluted, over-fished and under-protected waters, include:
Many of the additional and strengthened measures we propose are eminently achievable. As the government takes stock of responses, we look forward to an improved and ambitious programme of measures to enhance the UK’s chances of restoring our seas to GES by 2024.
Read the ELUK response to the UK Programme of Measures here.
Sean Clement is Chair of the Link Marine Group and an Ocean Restoration Project Officer at WWF-UK. The opinions expressed in this blog are the author's and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership.
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