Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, has expressed her delight that Defra has officially confirmed today it will no longer be proceeding with Lindisfarne as one of its candidate Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). The proposal would have banned all fishing activity off the shores of Holy Island, rendering a centuries-old way of life obsolete.
The tide times on Holy Island make commuting extremely difficult, meaning most residents also work on the Island. Forcing the fishing community to fish further afield or give up fishing altogether would have ripped the heart out of the community, with fishing families – many of whom also run hospitality businesses and provide emergency response provision at times of high tide – leaving.
Anne-Marie, who has worked alongside the fishing community, the parish and county councillors, local vicar Rev Sarah Hills as well as the Northumberland branch of the Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority on the campaign against the decision, paid tribute to the community:
“I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to reverse this decision, in particular the Holy Island residents; the wider Northumberland community who took the time to respond to my survey and Defra’s consultation; local figureheads like Rev Sarah Hills and John Bevan and of course the fishing community themselves. Their story is one of hard work and dedication to keeping their way of life going, and that story has inspired local and national support.
“I also want to thank the ministers in Defra who have listened to us all and have held their hands up and realised this wasn’t the right location for the trial. I know they are looking forward to hearing somewhat less from me in the coming weeks!”
The MP, whose constituency covers Holy Island, ran surveys which gathered data from Island residents and the wider community, the responses to which she used to strengthen her formal submission to the Defra consultation, which looked to assess the socio-economic impact of the proposed ban. The letter from Dr Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Defra, confirming the location had been changed, referenced the representations Anne-Marie had made on behalf of her constituents and the demonstrable strength of feeling on the issue.
Photo: Anne-Marie with Holy Island Parish Council Chair John Bevan, and Island vicar Rev Sarah Hills (taken January 2023)
Attached: letter from Defra confirming the change of location