Home  Contact  Site Map
About EMS  About SEMS  Contact  Publications  Natural Environment Group

Marine Conservation Zones

MCZ Solent
MCZs in the Solent © JNCC

The Government's aim is to develop an ecologically coherent and well-managed network of Marine Protected Areas. This network is made up of European Marine Sites, SSSIs, Ramsar sites and Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ).

The Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCAA) 2009 allows for the creation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). MCZs protect a range of nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology, and can be designated anywhere in English and Welsh territorial and UK offshore waters. The MPA Interactive Map shows the location of all MCZs. 

Each MCZ is established by a legal order made by Defra under  the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA). Each order designates an area as an MCZ and defines that area, lists the features being protected within that area and specifies the conservation objective or objectives of the MCZ. Generally, each MCZ has one conservation objective. The objective applies to all of the features being protected and is that each of the features being protected be in favourable condition. To achieve this objective, the general management approach required for a feature in an MCZ will either be for it to be maintained in favourable condition (if it is currently in this state), or for it to be recovered to favourable condition (if it is currently in a damaged state) and then to be maintained in favourable condition. Site-specific conservation advice is published by Natural England after designation.

In 2020, the SEMS Management Scheme started to include MCZs in the Solent in its Annual Survey. We ask if there is any ongoing monitoring within the MCZ and whether non-licensable activities are though to be having a detrimental impact. 

Management measures required within Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are decided on a site-by-site basis, and will depend on what the site has been designated for. Public authorities have responsibility for identifying and enforcing the most effective form of management of the MCZ in relation to the activities they are responsible for, drawing on the advice and guidance provided by Natural England. 

MCZs in the Solent

Sites designated in the Solent are: