Offshore MPA Conservation Advice

JNCC’s offshore Marine Protected Area (MPA) conservation advice is delivered through individual MPA Site Information Centres. Advice on individual applications for plans and projects that can affect offshore MPAs is delivered by our offshore industry advice team.


The offshore MPA conservation advice which is provided via the Site Information Centres has multiple parts. Please see our paper on JNCC’s delivery of conservation advice obligations for UK offshore MPA in order to understand the multi-step approach to our advice and how we are developing it in line with our obligation and recommendations from UK government.

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Our conservation advice is useful if you are:

  • preparing Habitats Regulations Assessments or Environmental Impact Assessments, for proposed plans or projects, that may affect the protected features of an offshore MPA;
  • carrying out any activity that may affect the protected features of an offshore MPA and need to find out how to operate within the law;
  • planning measures to maintain or restore an offshore MPA and its protected features;
  • monitoring and/or assessing the condition of the protected features; or
  • developing, proposing or assessing an activity, plan or project that may affect the protected features of an offshore MPA. 
  • an authority responsible for putting management measures in place.


Offshore MPA Conservation advice will be kept under review and updated to reflect improvements in our understanding of Offshore MPA feature condition and ecology. We will seek stakeholder feedback on our advice to ensure it is fit for purpose. This may be an ongoing or periodic process.  For further information on this aspect of JNCC’s developing work please see JNCC’s Marine pressures webpage.


Offshore MPA Conservation Objectives and Advice on Operations


JNCC has to date advised on conservation objectives for the 38 offshore MPAs currently designated in UK waters.


For Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), conservation objectives and advice on operations are available in individual Offshore SAC “Conservation Objectives and Advice on Operations” documents which are provided in our Site Information Centres.

For Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) and Nature Conservation MPAs (NCMPAs) conservation objectives can be found in the designation orders available on Defra and Marine Scotland websites and via our Site Information Centres

For NCMPAs, JNCC has contributed to developing an online tool which helps public authorities, industry and regulators determine which activities are capable of affecting the protected features of this designation type. This is the Features Activities Sensitivities Tool (FeAST), available via Marine Scotland’s website, providing a generic guidance regarding matters which are capable of affecting protected features. Management options papers have also been developed for each designated site and can be viewed through our Site Information Centres.

Further information is available for MCZs in JNCC’s pre-designation advice to Government.


Improving the provision of offshore MPA Conservation Advice

JNCC is currently working to improve the delivery of conservation advice for all offshore MPAs, more information on this work is provided by following the link above.

Further information


Tompot Blenny Plymouth Sound © Paul Naylor Curled octopus (Eledone cirrhosa) © Keith Hiscock, JNCC Sea fan anemone (Amphianthus dohrni) © Keith Hiscock Subtidal Mixed Sediments © Lin Baldock