Highly Protected Marine Areas Consultation in English Waters
On 6 July, Defra launched a 12-week consultation for five candidate Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) in English Waters. The consultation closed on 28 September, and Defra intended to publish the summary of responses late December in line with the consultation guidance. They received over 900 responses to the consultation and the detailed analysis of all the evidence provided has taken longer than expected.
Defra expect to publish the summary of responses in early 2023.
Defra will provide the resulting evidence to the Secretary of State in early 2023, for consideration before her decision on any pilot sites and final site boundaries to progress towards designation. Any HPMAs would be designated through the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 by 6 July 2023. This would be a year from the start of the consultation as required by the Act.
Once again, Defra would like to thank all those who responded to the consultation and their valuable contributions to date on the HPMA process. They will provide the next update on progress in early 2023.