Utopia MCZ

Last updated: 13th March 2020

Supplementary advice

The Supplementary Advice on Conservation Objectives (SACOs) present attributes which are ecological characteristics or requirements of the designated species and habitats within a site. The listed attributes are considered to be those which best describe the site’s ecological integrity and which if safeguarded will enable achievement of the Conservation Objectives. These attributes have a target which is either quantified or qualified depending on the available evidence.

The target identifies as far as possible the desired state to be achieved for the attribute. In many cases, the attribute targets show if the current objective is to either ‘maintain’ or ‘recover’ the attribute.

Where there is no evidence to determine a marine feature’s condition, a vulnerability assessment, which includes sensitivity and exposure information for features and activities in a site, has been used as a proxy for condition. Evidence used in preparing the SACO has been cited with hyperlinks included where possible. Where references have not been provided, Natural England has applied ecological knowledge and expert judgement.

Some, but not all, of these attributes can also be used for regular monitoring of the condition of the designated features. The attributes selected for monitoring the features, and the standards used to assess their condition, are listed in separate monitoring documents, which will be available from Natural England. As condition assessment information becomes available, the conservation advice package will be reviewed accordingly.

When to use

You should use this information, along with the conservation objectives and case-specific advice issued by Natural England when developing, proposing or assessing an activity, plan or project that may affect the site.

Any proposals or operations which may affect the site or its features should be designed so they do not adversely affect any of the attributes in the SACO or achievement of the conservation objectives.

Choose one or more features and/or their sub-features below by selecting the applicable boxes in the tree. This will show the relevant targets. Where a feature has sub-features this will be indicated with a greyed out triangle below, which can be expanded.
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 Fragile sponge and anthozoan communities on subtidal rocky habitats
 High energy circalittoral rock
 Moderate energy circalittoral rock
 Subtidal coarse sediment
 Subtidal mixed sediments
 Subtidal sand

You can filter to show only targets for certain attributes by selecting one or more attributes from the list below (use ctrl click to select multiple). Note that only attributes for the features you have chosen are shown.

Feature target

‘Maintain’ targets do not preclude the need for management, now or in the future, to avoid a significant risk of damage or deterioration to the feature. The supporting and/or explanatory notes in the SACOs set out why the target was chosen and any relevant site based supporting information. This is based on the best available information, including that gathered during monitoring of the feature’s current condition.

Please select a feature.

The targets given for each attribute do not represent thresholds to assess the significance of any given impact in MCZ assessments. You will need to assess this on a case-by-case basis using the most current information available. See further guidance on how to undertake an assessment of implications of a proposal on a MCZ is given in Marine Conservation Zones and Marine Licensing.

These tables bring together the findings of the best available scientific evidence which may be updated or supplemented in further publications from Natural England and other sources. You may decide to use other additional sources of information.

These tables do not give advice about other legally protected species which may also be present within the MCZ.