The Marine Coastal Society is asking people to cast their votes on whether popular boating areas should become marine protected areas

The Marine Coastal Society (MCS) has earmarked 73 coastal areas that it believes should be protected to safeguard rare and threatened species and habitats.

The MCS says that currently only 1% of the nation’s coastal waters are protected and it would like to see this figure rise to 30%.

The areas are marked on a map of the UK on the MCS’s website and include The Needles, Studland Bay and Lyme Bay, as well as many other areas along the UK’s south coast.

Votes in favour of Studland Bay being designated a marine protected area with anchoring restrictions are currently 1562, while 913 people have voted against the move. To cast your vote click here.

Other popular boating areas that it is asking the public to vote on include the Isles of Scilly, Dover and the Isle of Man.

To see the map of each of the earmarked sites and to cast your vote on whether or not they should be nominated as marine protected areas click here. Once you have selected a specific area you will be given the option of voting ‘yes’ that it should become a marine protected area, or ‘no’ that it shouldn’t.

The MCS says it intends to use this research as an advisory piece of research to help it come to some compromise with other coastal stakeholders. It does, however, admit that it would ideally like to see some of these areas designated as Marine Conservation Zones.

Voting is ongoing and there is no deadline.