Dogger Bank bids to be UK's newest marine reserve

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The famous Dogger Bank sandbanks found in the North Sea off the east coast of England have been submitted to the European Commission for inclusion in a Europe wide network of nature protection sites.

The British area of the bank covers some 12,000 sq/km,(4600 sq/miles) and would link up with areas in German and Dutch waters that are already protected to form a massive new marine protection zone.

The sand banks, famous for their many shipwrecks, are an important fishing area due to the shallow nature of its waters which range between 15 and 36 metres deep,(49-118'), and are home to a diverse range of marine species including cod, herring, flatfish, crabs, starfish, sand eels and jellyfish.

The new designation would mean it would gain protection from any damaging activities which could harm habitat and the wildlife within it.

The area is also considered a prime location for offshore wind farms but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has stated that the protection will not jeopardise any planned development but could mean some modification to any existing plans to make sure their environmental impact is limited.

This, and proposals for a series of marine conservation zones to sit alongside other already existing sites will be presented for review in September.

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