Allonby Bay HPMA designation

It was announced yesterday (28th February 2023) by The Rt Hon Dr Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, of her intention to allocate three Highly Protected Marine Areas. One of which is Allonby Bay. These sites will be designated before 6th July 2023.

The intention of the HPMA is to allow the marine environment to fully recover from any harmful activities. Allonby Bay along with the other two designated sites were chosen due to the ecological significance of nature recovery in these areas. Following the recommendations in the Benyon review the HPMA at Allonby Bay has been established to complement the existing marine protected areas.

Allonby Bay is an area that contains ‘blue carbon’ habitats that will capture and store carbon. Honeycomb reefs and blue mussel beds are also in the site which can provide protection against coastal erosion and water purification. There will also be protection for nursery and spawning habitats for species including cod, sole, plaice and herring. All of which are commercially important.

There has been a revision in Allonby Bay HPMA boundaries to allow for recreational angling. This includes access for disabled anglers and for activities which hold importance to the local community. The revised boundaries also take into account the needs of Maryport Harbour and the Port of Silloth.

We will continue to provide updates on the situation as soon as we are made aware of them.

Please see the links below for The Rt Hon Dr Thérèse Coffey official statement, the Benyon review and the official government press release.

Highly Protected Marine Areas to be designated in English waters – GOV.UK (

Written statements – Written questions, answers and statements – UK Parliament

Benyon review Into Highly Protected Marine Areas: Final report – executive summary – GOV.UK (