The RYA’s Planning and Environment Advisor Caroline Price will tell the cross-party Assembly’s environment committee on the 8th November that the proposed Welsh Highly Protected Marine Conservation Zones (HPMCZs) could be detrimental for recreational boating across Wales with subsequent impacts on the coastal economy. The RYA is concerned that the current HPMCZ proposals could severely limit the ability for people to go boating in whatever form which directly contradicts the Welsh Government’s ‘Creating an Active Wales’ strategy.
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Caroline Price: 'The ‘highly protected’ nature of proposed MCZs in Welsh waters has the potential to restrict and exclude a wide range of socio-economic activities including anchoring, navigation and transit of vessels and the maintenance of ports and harbours from a number of coastal areas.
'There is strong club network in North West Wales and should these activities be banned it is likely that this will lead to a reduction in recreational boating activity around the coast of North Wales.'
According to the Welsh Government (WG) the first consultation which took place earlier this year set out the science behind the 10 site options and focused on gathering information and views from people.
The WG received an overwhelming 7000 responses and as a consequence it announced at the beginning of this week ‘a period of additional work to reflect on and fully explore all the information received’.
This was followed by a further announcement that Environment Minister John Griffiths has set up a new ‘task and finish’ team and stakeholder focus group to examine the plans for HPMCZs off the Welsh coast.
'The lack of consultation with local stakeholders on the 10 highly protected zones has caused considerable disquiet as people have become concerned about the potentially significant socio-economic impacts on the activities of their clubs and training centres.
'We hope that this further period of work between the stakeholder focus group and the ‘task and finish’ team will present a range of options for delivering the WG’s marine conservation objectives whilst minimising impacts on socio-economic activities, particularly recreational boating,' Caroline concludes.
The RYA will also be giving evidence on other aspects of marine policy including marine spatial planning, marine licencing and stakeholder engagement.
You can read more on marine conservation zones in Wales here.