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(1) In order to contribute to the achievement of the objective in subsection (2), the appropriate authority must designate MCZs under section 116.
(2) The objective is that the MCZs designated by the appropriate authority, taken together with any other MCZs designated under section 116 and any relevant conservation sites in the UK marine area, form a network which satisfies the conditions in subsection (3).
(3) The conditions are—
(a) that the network contributes to the conservation or improvement of the marine environment in the UK marine area;
(b) that the features which are protected by the sites comprised in the network represent the range of features present in the UK marine area;
(c) that the designation of sites comprised in the network reflects the fact that the conservation of a feature may require the designation of more than one site.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (2), the following are “relevant conservation sites”—
(a) any European marine site;
(b) the whole or part of any SSSI;
(c) the whole or part of any Ramsar site.
(5) When complying with the duty imposed by subsection (1), the appropriate authority must have regard to any obligations under EU or international law that relate to the conservation or improvement of the marine environment.
(6) Before the end of the period of 2 months beginning with the date on which this section comes into force, the appropriate authority must—
(a) prepare a statement setting out such principles relating to the achievement of the objective in subsection (2) as the authority intends to follow when complying with the duty imposed by subsection (1), and
(b) lay a copy of the statement before the appropriate legislature.
(7) A statement prepared by the appropriate authority under this section may also set out other matters relating to the achievement of that objective which the authority intends to take into account when complying with the duty imposed by subsection (1).
(8) The appropriate authority must—
(a) keep under review any statement it has prepared under this section, and
(b) if it considers it appropriate in consequence of a review, prepare a revised statement of the principles referred to in subsection (6) and lay a copy of it before the appropriate legislature.
(9) In this section—
“the appropriate legislature” means—
(a) in relation to the Secretary of State, Parliament;
(b) in relation to the Welsh Ministers, the National Assembly for Wales;
(c) in relation to the Scottish Ministers, the Scottish Parliament;
“European marine site” means any site which is—
(a) a European marine site within the meaning of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations 1994 (SI 1994/2716), or
(b) a European offshore marine site within the meaning of the Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/1842);
“feature” means anything falling within paragraphs (a) to (c) of section 117(1);
“Ramsar site” has the same meaning as in section 37A of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (c 69);
“SSSI” means a site of special scientific interest, within the meaning of Part 2 of that Act.
Royal Assent (in so far as it confers power to make regulations or an order under or by virtue of this Act): 12 November 2009: see s 324(1)(c).
Specified date (in relation to England for remaining purposes): 12 January 2010: see s 324(2)(b)(i).
To be appointed (in relation to Wales for remaining purposes): see s 324(3), (5), (6)(a)(i).