Cromer shoal chalk reef, photo by Rob Spray

37 Marine Conservation Zones to be considered for consultation in 2015


Wednesday 05 March, 2014




Norfolk Wildlife Trust welcomes Defra’s release of the list of 37 sites for a second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), which are due for consultation in 2015, and which includes the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds in Norfolk.

Marine Conservation Zones are vital to protect and restore the marine environment. Such areas are one of the best tools to protect marine wildlife effectively and restore our seas to their full potential following decades of neglect and decline.

The chalk reef is located just 200 metres from the Norfolk coast, ranging from 0 – 20 metres in depth. This unique reef comprises boulders, stacks and arches and is most likely to be Europe’s longest chalk reef. Alongside chalk, the seabed is composed of a mixture of rock, sediment, peat and clay.

Marine life is abundant here, including blue mussel beds, over 30 species of sea slug, harbour porpoises, grey and harbour seals, alongside occasional sightings of sunfish and basking sharks.

The chalk habitat hosts large communities of crustaceans, burrowing piddocks, sea squirts, anemones and sponges; the purple sponge found here is a species new to science and was only discovered in 2011 by Dr Claire Goodwin. Shoaling fish are also a common sight and provide food for many seabirds, including common, little and Sandwich tern.

Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Brendan Joyce said: “We are pleased by the Government’s commitment to a second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones. The 27 areas designated at the end of last year were the first step towards an ecologically coherent network.  We are buoyed by progress being made towards the next step in its creation.

“There is huge public support for greater protection of our seas using Marine Protected Areas. They are one of the best tools to protect marine wildlife effectively and restore our seas to their full potential, following decades of neglect and decline.”

In November 2013, Marine Environment Minister George Eustice announced plans to designate two more phases of MCZs over the next three years to complete the Government’s contribution to a network of marine protected areas. He said: “This is just the beginning, we plan two further phases over the next three years and work to identify these will begin shortly.” A consultation on the second phase is expected to be launched in early 2015.
Share this

Top news stories

2018-05-22 Wildlife in Common Wildlife in Common
Tuesday 22 May, 2018
A two year project celebrating Norfolk’s commons and their wildlife and heritage has begun,  run by Norfol...
2018-05-01 Jess French joins Norfolk Wild Jess French joins Norfolk Wildlife Trust as Children’s Ambassador
Tuesday 01 May, 2018
Our new Sure Start project will engage with children and families at the very start of their lives, giving them hands...
2018-04-27 County Wildlife Sites threaten County Wildlife Sites threatened by government planning changes
Friday 27 April, 2018
From ancient woodlands and flower meadows to wildlife oases in our towns and cities, there are thousands of quiet, of...
2018-04-25 Nigel and Joshua’s Lad join th Nigel and Joshua’s Lad join the grazing ponies on local wildlife site
Wednesday 25 April, 2018
Two Dartmoor Ponies are settling in to their new home at Litcham Common in West Norfolk, where they will graze the he...
2018-04-18 Ben to go Broads to Brecks to Ben to go Broads to Brecks to celebrate Norfolk Day
Wednesday 18 April, 2018
Ambassador of Norfolk Wildlife Trust and of Norfolk Day, Dr Ben Garrod, will journey across Norfolk on Friday 27 July...
2018-04-17 New research reveals nature’s New research reveals nature’s beauty increases happiness
Tuesday 17 April, 2018
30 Days Wild pioneers action to connect people with nature The Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge 3...
2018-03-29 Hi-tec installation for intern Hi-tec installation for internationally-important fen
Thursday 29 March, 2018
A data logging piezometer system has been installed this week at a Norfolk fen to gather detailed data about the site...
2018-03-28  Norfolk's iconic swallowtail Norfolk's iconic swallowtail butterfly at risk from climate change
Wednesday 28 March, 2018
Norfolk's butterflies, bees, bugs, birds, trees and mammals are at major risk from climate change as temperatures...
2018-03-22 People’s choice Alice Lee will People’s choice Alice Lee will exhibit her unique ‘Flock’ at NWT Cley Marshes
Thursday 22 March, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is excited to host talented Norwich-based artist, Alice Lee for an exhibition, colouring book ...
2018-03-14 NWT announces new Chief Execut NWT announces new Chief Executive
Wednesday 14 March, 2018
The trustees of Norfolk Wildlife Trust are delighted to announce the appointment of Pamela Abbott as the new Chief Ex...
2018-03-06 Grant will give children a sur Grant will give children a sure start with nature
Tuesday 06 March, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has received a grant of £7,770 from the National Lottery’s Awards for All scheme f...
2018-03-05  Mass marine death along North Mass marine death along North Sea coast
Monday 05 March, 2018
Tens of thousands of marine animals have been washed up along the UK’s east coast following the cold temperatur...