Protecting our oceans
We support the designation and effective ongoing management of Marine Protected Areas around the UK.
Why does ocean protection matter to the National Trust?
We care about the coast. We look after around 785 miles of shoreline for the nation, making us the UK's largest landowner on the coast.
The coastline in our care includes rugged cliffs, sandy shores, salt marsh, and over 8000 hectares of seabed. Much of what we care for is intertidal habitat, which the RSPB has estimated has declined across the UK by about 15 per cent since 1945.
Many of the 240 coastal places we care for, such as Scolt Head, Brancaster, Marloes, the Farnes and Cemlyn Bay, are home to nationally and internationally important seabird and seal colonies that rely on adjacent waters as foraging areas for fish.
We want our visitors to be able to enjoy our precious oceans, and for our activities to not damage marine wildlife and habitats.
We use only sustainably caught seafood in our cafes and food outlets. Our rangers and volunteers take part in regular beach cleans. We’re helping to tackle pollution from nutrients and soil run-off by encouraging farmers to consider the impacts of agriculture on water along its path from source to sea, and this year have made major efforts to reduce our waste, particularly single use plastics.
What do we think about Marine Protected Areas?
In total, almost 190 of our places are next to or overlap with places designated as marine protected areas, and almost all the seabed that we care for is within a protected area.
In the summer of 2018 the Government consulted on England’s final tranche of Marine Conservation Zones.
Designation of the proposed 41 new sites, and the addition of some species and habitats to existing Marine Conservation Zones, will greatly improve the coverage of the UK’s ecological network of marine protected areas.
Thirteen of the proposed new Marine Conservation Zones lie next to our land, including the examples below.
We submitted a response to Defra in support of designating all 41 sites, and the addition of the proposed species and habitats to existing Marine Conservation Zones.
We've also been clear that whilst the designations themselves are very important, the ongoing effective management of marine protected areas is critical to their success.