Marine Conservation Zones

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has campaigned, alongside other Wildlife Trusts and conservation organisations, for better protection for marine habitats and wildlife.

The Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) contained a commitment to establish Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in England’s seas. Four stakeholder groups were set up by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to determine where these should be. Groups contained representatives from a range of organisations including industry, fishing and wildlife conservation.

In September 2011, 127 sites for Marine Conservation Zones were proposed around England. In December 2012, Government rejected this advice and proposed to designate just 31 zones from the list of 127. 

In February 2014, a further 37 candidate sites were announced for the second tranche of designations. More information will now be gathered about these sites before consulting on this list at the beginning of 2015. 

Lincolnshire’s proposed Marine Conservation Zones

The Silver Pit is a deep glacial channel dating back ten thousand years when, during the Ice Age, much of the North Sea was dry land. Today, it’s considered depleted and in need of action to aid recovery.

The Lincolnshire Belt stretches 35km from the Humber Channel to Anderby Creek, from the low tideline out to sea 5.5km (3 nautical miles). It is also a post-glacial landscape with cliffs of clay and peat, and sunken forests. These solid structures in the shifting sands form a substrate for sessile animals such as sea anemones and provide shelter for fish.

The Wash Approach covers an area of nearly 1000km2 (nearly twice the size of the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB). It has one of the highest species diversities in the North Sea. Animals found here include worms, bivalves including the incredibly long lived ocean quahog, starfish and urchins, anemones, sea firs and sea mats.

In addition, three areas were proposed that will be afforded the maximum level of protection possible to seabed habitats preventing any extracting, depositional or destructive activities occurring, such as fishing, aggregate removal, release of waste and building of structures.

The Inner and Outer Dogs Head is located in the mouth of the Wash. The intertidal sand banks here rise up to three metres high. Common seals haul out to rest and to give birth to their pups and the little terns that nest at Gibraltar Point, fish for sand eels in the shallows.

Sabellaria reef is a living reef which is created by the tiny ross worm called Sabellaria spinulosa. These worms build tubes from sand and large numbers of them create expansive structures that can be raised up to 60 centimetres above the seabed and that can persist for many years. This stable reef habitat allows other animals to become established.

An area of sand and gravels that will be left completely untouched.




FilenameFile size
Dogs Head Sandbanks237.65 KB
Lincs Belt217.04 KB
Silver Pit223.98 KB
Wash Approach291.85 KB