The UK has just marked a massive new area of ocean territory as protected marine habitat. The legislation protects 41 new patches of ocean, making it the largest expansion of the UK’s “Blue Belt” of protected areas to date.
Collectively, the new designations will safeguard 12,000 square kilometers (4600 square miles) of marine habitat – an area that is almost eight times the size of Greater London.
With 50 zones already designated in 2013 and 2016, the UK now has 355 Marine Protected Areas of different types, spanning 220,000 square kilometers – nearly twice the size of England.
The latest round of protections follow an extensive consultation, including with local fishermen and marine conservation experts, which received overwhelming support for the proposals.