- Bold vision for the UK’s first National Marine park will be launched by Luke Pollard MP on Friday 7th December 10am at Plymouth University Marine Station
- Proposals backed by Plymouth’s world-class marine science and research institutes
- Prospectus proposes first framework ever for UK National Marine Parks to be rolled out across the country
This Friday at the University of Plymouth, Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, will launch proposals to create the UK’s First National Marine Park (NMP) in Plymouth Sound. The prospectus sets out why Plymouth Sound should be the UK’s first NMP and the benefits it would deliver for people, business and the environment.
The path to this long awaited publication has seen Plymouth’s marine experts come together over the past year and gather national and international backing from the Environment Secretary Michael Gove and UN Patron of the Ocean, Lewis Pugh.
Plymouth Sound is one of the most unique marine environments in the UK. It includes the Plymouth Sound and Tamar Estuaries Marine Protected Area designated for its abundance and diversity of wildlife, the largest naval base in western Europe, a nationally significant fish market, over 13,000 people in Plymouth are employed in the marine sector, it is home to world-class marine research and boasts a rich maritime history. Nowhere in the UK is more deserving of special recognition. Developing a National Marine Park (NMP) here in Plymouth will not only provide a huge local benefit but it will provide a model, which campaigners intend to roll out across coastal communities on a national scale.
The vision behind the NMP is to develop a new designation that will enable people to better understand the marine environment and form a closer bond with the ocean.
The city’s unique natural suitability for this project is also matched by its world class marine institutions that have fuelled the campaign. The University of Plymouth: Marine and Coastal Policy Research Unit (MarCoPol), Marine Biological Association (MBA), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) and the National Marine Aquarium have all come together to work on the bold and ambitious prospectus that will launch this week.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“I have made creating a National Marine Park in Plymouth Sound one of my key campaigns as an MP. Plymouth has so much to be proud of in relation to the marine environment. From truly world-class marine science at the University, PML and MBA, to world-class engineering at Babcock, M-Subs, Thales and Princess Yachts. Plymouth Sound is the jewel in our crown as a city and the proposals to designate it as the UK’s first National Marine Park will help put Plymouth on the map. We are so good at so many things as a city, we are best at not telling anyone how good we are. That needs to change and the prospectus I am publishing today to create the country’s first marine park will help shine a light on our city’s marine success stories.
Plymouth is already Britain’s Ocean City. We think a National Marine Park will improve understanding of the marine environment and create a greater sense of public engagement in the waters around Plymouth.
I want to pay tribute to the brilliant teams from across Plymouth who have worked hard on this proposal and combined wide ranging expertise to make a robust case for the UK’s first National Marine Park. This new designation not about stopping anyone doing anything but about encouraging sustainable economic activity to sit alongside a sustainable environment.
We were all shocked by Blue Planet II at the state of our oceans. To stop the damage of dangerous climate change means we need to take bold action to safeguard our oceans and create a new bond with our environment to pass on to the next generation. The time to act is now. Our ambition laid out in this prospectus is bold and that is what this is all about. Let’s get behind this campaign as a city and make it happen.”
Cllr Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council said:
“Plymouth City Council is very pleased to support this event to help move things forward for Plymouth to become the UK’s first National Marine Park.
“We believe Plymouth is the natural choice, as the largest operational naval base in Europe and one of England’s largest fishing ports, with its stunning and vibrant waterfront, rich maritime heritage and a successful and productive fishing industry.
“Caring for our marine environment and helping people to understand how it plays a large part in all our lives is important to us. We have two Marine Conservation Zones, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and numerous historic wreck sites.
“National Marine Park status would help us to build on these strong foundations and open up exciting new opportunities for Britain’s Ocean City and the UK as a whole.”
Professor Martin Attrill, Associate Head of School & Professor of Marine Ecology at the University of Plymouth, who initially mooted the idea as early as 2012 said:
“We need to engage people to help them discover and cherish what we have in our seas off Plymouth.
We need to help the public to access our world class marine environment, attract tourists and provide economic, social and health benefits for our local community.”