To ensure that best available data was used and made available for the UK Marine Protected Area planning process, ABPmer was contracted to develop the necessary data layers for the identification and designation of a national network of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in UK waters.
The objectives of the project were to collate and develop data layers on biological and physical aspects of the marine environment, including the provision of data on current habitat maps; the distribution of species and habitats of conservation importance; mapping of marine biodiversity and the production of sensitivity matrices. We also created geology and geomorphology datalayers.
All datalayers were subsequently made available through the MEDIN portal and stakeholder engagement was enabled through an interactive webGIS.
The outputs of the work were used to inform the selection of MCZs and are used by the Marine Management Organisation in taking forward marine planning in the English Waters. The two year project was funded by Defra, the Scottish Government, the Department of Environment (Northern Ireland), JNCC, Natural England and CCW.