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Marine wildlife charities' worries over management plan

From BBC - January 8, 2018

A long-awaited plan for managing Wales' seas could have "significant negative consequences" for marine wildlife, environment groups have warned.

Assembly members are set to debate the draft Welsh national marine plan on Tuesday afternoon.

Almost a decade in the making, it sets out how seas should be used and protected over the next 20 years.

The Welsh Government said it was aiming for "clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas".

Clare Reed from the Marine Conservation Society said the plan needed to do more to demonstrate how it intends to protect wildlife.

"We are concerned that the current inclusions of strategic resource areas - mapped areas for growth of marine industry - may have significant negative consequences for marine wildlife and the habitats on which they depend."

RSPB Cymru said it was "shocked" by elements of the plan, which it described as "deeply worrying".

Director Katie-Jo Luxton said some of the policies outlined in the document threatened to undo the Welsh Government's own commitments to nature and sustainable development.

Support for a number of tidal lagoon energy schemes along the Welsh coast "with very limited caveats" was the worst example, she said.

"We are becoming increasingly worried that they are failing to apply the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and continue to prioritise development at the expense of nature."

Alec Taylor, programme manager for marine governance at WWF UK, said the charity welcomed the efforts made.

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