Friday, 3 August 2012

Latest Position Statement 3 August 2012

3 August 2012

Position statement from John Sizer, National Trust Property Manager for the North Norfolk Coast on Marine Conservation Zones, Blakeney Reference Area and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s appeal to buy Cley Marshes:

“The National Trust has looked after Blakeney Point for 100 years and, along with many other organisations in this area, balances the interests of nature conservation with public enjoyment and traditional activities to protect this fragile and dynamic coastline for future generations to enjoy.

“We are supportive of the creation of 127 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) around the country’s coastline and believe that an integrated approach to the many current layers of protection will benefit biodiversity, seascape and local communities. The process to create MCZs runs alongside the development of the Marine Plan for the East Inshore and Offshore areas and it is important to ensure we get the process right as it will influence the other plans coming forward over the coming years.

“As part of Marine Conservation Zones, ‘Reference Areas’ are being put forward to provide a scientific benchmark for the wider conservation zone. We have serious concerns about the consultation process and science associated with the current process for the selection of these areas. We welcome therefore the recent advice from Natural England and JNCC to government that ‘the process to identify reference areas was flawed’ and we feel that this is especially relevant to the recommended reference area, rRA4, Blakeney Marsh. We urge the Government to put in place a revised process that leads to Reference Areas being placed in the right locations, where they are workable and underpinned by genuine local consultation and sound science.

“We don’t think that Blakeney saltmarsh is the right place for a Reference Area or that the right level of stakeholder or local community consultation has been carried out. The proposed area is already protected by many layers of European and national protection, is in a favourable condition, is important for the area in terms of recreation and has been traditionally used sensitively by local people to earn their livelihood for generations. 

“We are keen to work with others to find an alternative site. We will work hard in the public consultation next year to press home our points. We hope that those responsible will involve conservation organisations like the National Trust and the local community to ensure the right outcomes for this special place.”

And on Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s appeal to buy Cley Marshes:

“We fully support Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s appeal to add to the NWT Cley marshes nature reserve. Just as the National Trust took Blakeney Point on exactly 100 years ago to become the first Nature Reserve in Norfolk; so too was Norfolk the first Wildlife Trust in the country, so they have a proud heritage of looking after nature in this part of the country and are the right people to take on this stretch of marsh which joins their current reserve. We have always had a close working relationship with them and as ever look forward to working together to ensure the right outcomes for people and wildlife.

“Like us, they support the creation of Marine Conservation Zones around the country with a view to adding a significant layer of protection for biodiversity and seascape. We understand that they have said nothing about supporting any specific reference areas in Blakeney and await the public consultation.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Blakeney Point was the first nature reserve in Norfolk. It was bought via public appeal in 1912 and was handed to the National Trust the same year.

  1. Blakeney National Nature Reserve forms part of one of the largest expanses of undeveloped coastal habitat in Europe. The reserve consists of extensive inter-tidal muds and sands, saltmarshes, shingle banks and sand dunes, as well as important freshwater grazing marshes and reedbeds.

  1. For more details please see the Blakeney Point web pages on the National Trust website:

  1. The Trust aspires to deliver Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) within its site management and its advocacy at local, regional and national levels..

  1. Our Neptune coastline campaign has been running for nearly 50 years and has enabled over 700 miles of coastline to come into the Trust’s stewardship.  The Trust has considerable interests in the marine environment, including inter-tidal and sub-tidal habitats that extend to over 8,000 Ha. 

  1. Our core purpose is to look after special places for ever and for everyone.  Around 60 of the proposed inshore MCZs and 13 of the Reference Areas adjoin or include National Trust ownership.  We have a role to play in caring for these newly described special places in the inshore marine environment

For more information please contact:

      John Sizer
      Property Manager, Norfolk Coast, National Trust
      01263 740241/07879 486146

Nick Champion
Regional Communications Manager, National Trust, East of England
01284 747558 / 07702 640758

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