These were designated in two phases after a process closely involving stakeholders. The first 27 zones were designated on 21 November 2013. 23 sites were designated in the second phase on 17 January 2016. Following consultation, 41 sites and 12 additional features were designated on 31 May 2019. Updated GIS data for all designated MCZs has been published.
The third phase essentially completed the UK Blue Belt and our contribution to the ecologically coherent network in the North East Atlantic in terms of the representation of species and habitats.