Conservation groups' new sea campaign

SUFFOLK conservation groups have joined together to try to pressure the government into taking firm action to help preserve the coastline around Britain.

SUFFOLK conservation groups have joined together to try to pressure the government into taking firm action to help preserve the coastline around Britain.

The RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust are among a group of charities hoping to persuade new prime minister Gordon Brown to strengthen the proposed Marine Bill.

This would create more offshore nature reserves where fishing and other commercial activity would be banned to give wildlife the chance to develop.

SWT director Julian Roughton said: “Gordon Brown has a fantastic opportunity to show his commitment to change by publicly supporting the urgent need for a Marine Bill.

“His commitment to marine protection will be an early test of his environmental credentials. Like climate change, the destruction of marine wildlife is an urgent global issue and the UK Government must take a lead by protecting our own seas.”

The RSPB, which owns and runs the Minsmere bird reserve on the Suffolk coast, is also hoping to persuade the government to develop more marine reserves.

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Dr Mark Avery from the RSPB said: “The UK government has a very poor track record on designating marine wildlife sites. Under European law, it has only protected three marine site of importance to birds; this paltry figure puts us behind many other European countries.

“We trust that Gordon Brown will honour his party's manifesto commitment to provide a marine bill before the next election. His commitment to marine protection will be an early test of his environmental credentials.”

The seas around Britain are rich in wildlife which sustain fish, and birds - although commercial activity including fishing, shipping, and oil exploration have caused damage over recent decades.

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