In Goole it was time to celebrate at ABP Marine Environmental Research (ABPmer) because last month (November 2008) they were awarded a huge contract to develop and design digital mapping / spatial information layers. Once completed the system should help identify Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in and around UK waters. The draft UK Marine Bill (and equivalent provisions in Scotland) provide for the identification, designation and management of a network of MCZs (and equivalent Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Scottish territorial waters) to protect nationally rare/threatened and representative habitats and species and features of geological and geomorphological importance.
The project is for two years and is funded by DEFRA (Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs), Scottish Government, Department of Environment (Northern Ireland), Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Natural England (NE) and Countryside Council for Wales will ensure that the decision making process uses the best scientific data available. The data layers developed will also inform wider approaches to the management of UK seas through marine planning.
Stephen Hull, Project Director, ABPmer
Information taken from ABPorts.co.uk