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Post-consultation scientific advice to Defra from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England on candidate Highly Protected Marine Areas in English waters 2023


Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) are areas of the sea designated for the protection and recovery of marine ecosystems. On 8 June 2021, Defra committed to identify and designate pilot HPMAs in English waters. Pilot HPMA site identification was based on ecological and socio-economic criteria, to ensure that sites selected provide maximum biodiversity benefits, social and economic opportunities and minimise impacts to sea users.

A public consultation on five candidate pilot English HPMAs was run by Defra between 6 July 2022 and 28 September 2022. Additional evidence gathering also occurred throughout 2022 to ensure that we use the best available evidence. This included site-specific engagement with local stakeholders to collect further evidence on the social and economic criteria.

This post-consultation advice presents the process JNCC and Natural England followed, a summary of changes in JNCC and Natural England's advice, and updated scientific advice on the ecological merit of the candidate HPMAs for each of the five candidate HPMAs that were subject to public consultation.

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Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2023·07·05

This report was produced following the Defra-led consultation on HPMAs and details JNCC and Natural England's updated scientific advice.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC pointOfContact

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2023·07·05

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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