Marine Conservation Zones..
A brief history....
2008 saw the Marine Conservation Zone Project set up to identify and reccommend areas suitable for designation as a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZs). It was set up by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England, supported by many other organisations and ordinary folk like you.
The project subdivided the UK into four regional zones - the south-west project was called 'Finding Sanctuary'.
In July 2012, the proposals drawn up from the data collected and research conducted, were submitted to the Government.
A public consultation on all MCZs reccommneded to the Government took place between December 2012 and March 2013. Public participation was a key part of the process in providing evidence in regards to things such as human use of the proposed areas, or ecological and socio-economic information about the area. Conservation groups, marine industries, and interested individuals all contributed to the consultation.
The 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act allowed for the creation of MCZs with the hope that they will protect vitally important habitats, geology, and wildlife. Tranches of consulatation and designation reviews, mean that today, there are currently 50 MCZs surrounding the Uk. The first 27 of these were designted in 2013, the rest in 2016. In June 2018, the Government stated that they want to create a further 41 MCZs and the consultation process for this continues.
The nearest to Polzeath, is the 'South-West Deeps (west)', an area roughly 230km from the south-west coast. Important features of this location include the sand banks which are some of the largest in the world. The designated site protects this subtidal sandy habitat, which is essential for species such as polychaete worms, urchins, and starfish.
The Marine Protected Areas interactive map, provides a visual wealth of information. Play with the 'map layers' to learn more about what is protected where... Another useful map to keep you updated can be found on the Wildlife Trusts website. This map allows you to learn about the particular specicies being protected by each MCZ.
To definitely make sure you are up-to-date with all things MCZ, you can sign up to and receive a monthly newsletter from the Wildlife Trusts.