Advice to Defra from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England on Areas of Ecological Interest for candidate Highly Protected Marine Areas in England 2022
Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) are areas of the sea designated for the protection and recovery of marine ecosystems. On 8 June 2021, the UK government committed to identify and designate pilot HPMAs in English waters. Pilot HPMA site identification is based on ecological and socio-economic criteria, which ensure that sites selected provide maximum biodiversity benefits, social and economic opportunities and minimise impacts to sea users.
Natural England and JNCC were commissioned by Defra to work on the initial stages of the pilot HPMA site selection process, which involved developing (based on recommendations from the Benyon Review) and applying a range of ecological criteria to identify pilot HPMAs based on the ecology.
During August and September 2021, JNCC and Natural England applied the ecological criteria using the best-available evidence from a range of data sources to identify important ecological areas, referred to as Areas of Ecological Interest (AEIs). Thirty AEIs were identified, including the consideration of the ecological merit of 26 proposals received from third parties.
This advice to Defra from JNCC and Natural England sets out how Natural England and JNCC undertook the assessment against the criteria set out in the ecological guidance to identify the 30 AEIs.
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Resource type Publication
Topic category Environment
Reference date 2022·07·06
The purpose of this advice is to set out how Natural England and JNCC undertook the assessment against the criteria set out in the ecological guidance to identify 30 Areas of Interest.
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Limitations on public access No limitations
Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0
Metadata date 2022·07·06
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