The UK marine environment is to be given new protections in an announcement today in London, while British Prime Minister Theresa May will issue a warning at the G7 in Canada that world leaders must find innovative solutions to the problems of marine pollution. In a statement, environment secretary Michael Gove is to set out plans to create more than 40 new Marine Conservation Zones across the country – safeguarding almost 12,000 square kilometres of marine habitats and marking the most significant expansion of the UK’s ‘Blue Belt’ of protected areas to date. The proposed protections are announced to coincide with World Oceans Day. No new activities deemed damaging, such as dredging, or significant coastal or offshore development, will be allowed to take place in these areas. Existing harmful activities will be minimised or stopped to allow important habitats to be restored over time.
Prime Minister Theresa May will also be making a call for urgent global action to protect the world’s oceans from plastics and other harmful waste at the G7 summit in Canada. Mrs May will implore other world leaders to follow the UK lead in working with business, industry and non-governmental organisations to find innovative and effective solutions to the problem. Mrs May will say that without joined-up, global action, shared environmental challenges cannot be tackled effectively. She is also to say marine plastics pollution is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world today.