OEP response to consultation on HPMAs

OEP response to Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAS) consultation

The Office for Environmental Protection has welcomed the proposed pilot introduction of  Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). 

Our response to the recent consultation on HPMAs calls on government to work with ambition and pace now to meet its commitments to improve the state of the marine environment. 

We state that we regard HPMAs as an essential cornerstone of responsible ocean stewardship. If implemented effectively they should support the recovery of habitats and species to a more natural state, as well as provide a better understanding of the scope for recovery in the wider marine environment, and a more solid basis from which to assess sustainability and climate change mitigation.

Our response sets out a number of recommendations to assist the future HPMA programme so that it makes an important contribution to the Government’s stated objectives for nature recovery. Our recommendations include: 

  • HPMAs should be supported by an ambitious and timebound implementation plan
  • Consideration should be given to a more ambitious approach, both in terms of the area covered by the pilot scheme and the implementation of HPMAs after the pilot
  • HPMAs should be supported by well-developed governance and sufficient long-term resourcing of public authorities
  • HPMAs should be informed by evidence on the value of marine protection and recovery

Our response to the consultation can be read in full by clicking on the blue button to the right of this page. 

Dame Glenys Stacey, Chair of the OEP said: “We welcome the proposed pilot introduction of HPMAs as an important step towards nature recovery at sea.

"We encourage the Government to work with ambition and pace now, in view of its commitments to improve the state of the marine environment and the pressing need for action in this area.

“We would welcome any future opportunity to see additional detail and provide advice to government as it further develops the policy following this consultation.”