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Cabinet opposes tighter marine conservation zones around Pembrokeshire

First published in County News

Senior County Councillors have voted to oppose further environmental protection for two coastal areas in Pembrokeshire whilst reserving its position over a third.

The cabinet decided to rebuff Welsh Government plans to designate areas from Strumble Head to Abercastle and another around Dale as highly protected marine conservation zones (HPMCZs).

The cabinet decided to reserve its position on a proposal for Skomer Island as members wanted the Welsh Government to assess the impact it would have on dredging operations in the Milford Haven waterway.

Activities in designated areas would be severely restricted and the three Pembrokeshire sites are among ten proposed for Wales.

Cabinet member for Environmental and Regulatory Services Councillor Ken Rowlands said designating the area around Dale would be sending the wrong messages to the petrochemical and gas industries on the waterway.

He added the Welsh Government was sending "mixed messages" as the waterway had recently been designated as an enterprise zone.

Council leader Jamie Adams said that the area from Strumble to Abercastle was used by those in the small-scale fishing industry, while the Dale area was dependent on the tourist economy, including the launching of boats.

He said: "Skomer is very well protected and rightly so.

"There is a danger sometimes we look to gold plate what is already a well protected zone."

Cllr Rob Lewis added that the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority had undertaken a lengthy discussion on the matter.

"The response of the National Park was very strongly against the Dale and Strumble zones with concerns about Skomer as well," he said.

Councillor David Pugh said designating the Dale area would be "a disaster for the village and surrounding area and similar for Strumble Head and the surrounding area."

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