#MarineWildlife - UK environmentalists have expressed their disappointment at the British government's slow progress on developing its promised network of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), as the Belfast Telegraph reports.
The consultation period was for the proposals was set to end on Sunday 31 March - amid fears among conservation groups that were realised some months ago with the news that just 31 out of a potential 127 sites would be designated as protected for marine wildlife and plantlife by the end of this year.
It's being reported that Environment Minister Richard Beynon is blaming budget cuts and the high cost of scientific assessment for the slowdown in progress on the government's side.
"I want to do as many zones as we can for as little as we can," he told the BBC. "People have waited many years for this; we will designate the first tranche in September and will announce the next lot for consultation then."
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) said in December that it was "encouraged" by the British government's "sensible" phased approach to the MCZ plans.
However, conservationists like Jolyon Chesworth from the Wildlife Trusts argue that their interests are being asked "to compromise on a compromise".
The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.