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MP welcomes Harwich's exclusion from marine conservation zone
6:00am Sunday 1st December 2013 in News
WATERS around the Harwich coast have been excluded from a new Marine Conservation Zone after it was deemed there was nothing of significance to protect.
Marine Conservation Zones have been created for the Rivers Blackwater, Colne and surrounding estuaries.
They were made after oystermen and the Essex Wildlife Trust carried out research which proved stocks of north Essex’s prized native oysters were severely depleted and faced extinction.
Following a thorough consultation, it was decided four sites would not be designated in this phase including the Stour and Orwell.
It was found the habitat in these areas did not need protection.
Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin has backed the decision.
He said: “The sweeping coverage approach was a move too far and jeopardised the local economy along the Stour and Essex coast.
“Only 2.3 per cent of the designated 87 square kilometres was actually identified as habitat requiring protection.
“It was wrong to include the whole of the operational approaches and Felixtowe berths, Harwich International Port Port of Ipswich, Harwich Navyard and Mistley Quay, where the Government had recognised there is nothing of significance to be protected."
He added: "I was concerned the proposal could have jeopardised the 32,000 jobs which rely on the ports and so I arranged for representatives of the Harwich International Port and the Harwich Haven Authority to meet the Secretary of State for Environment to make these concerns clear.
"I am pleased he has taken this on board. There is certainly a case for a more strategic approach to ensure the native habitats to the Stour are protected.
“The representatives of Harwich International Port and the haven authority strongly advocated the need for an appropriate conservation zone and showed a great deal of sensitivity towards the need to protect our environment.
“I hope this decision will now allow the Government to find the right balance in future measures.”
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