I have recently received emails about marine protection around the UK Overseas Territories and the related #BackTheBlueBelt campaign.
I strongly support action to safeguard habitats and species in the blue belts of the seas and oceans surrounding the UK.
The UK Government has said that it is on track to deliver its Blue Belt manifesto commitment to work with Overseas Territory Governments to create a Blue Belt of marine protection, and has stated that by 2020, it will have protected 4 million square kilometres of ocean around our Overseas Territories.
Our seas and oceans face a changing climate, and a long-term, strategic approach will be essential. I hope that the UK Government will continue to reaffirm its commitment to conservation and express support for the goals of establishing a marine protected area around the South Sandwich Islands in 2018 and a fully protected area in at least 50% of Ascension Island’s waters in 2019. I also hope that it will continue to make progress on the Blue Belt Programme more widely.
I would like to assure my constituents that I will continue to press the UK Government to protect Blue Belts and take the boldest possible action to combat the pollution of our precious seas and oceans.