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Thursday, 25 October, 2001, 05:19 GMT 06:19 UK
Protection plan for wreck wildlife
HMS Northcoates
HMS Northcoates is encrusted with a range of species
The wreck of a World War II minesweeper could be given protected status if a bill to help preserve marine wildlife becomes law.

HMS Northcoates, which lies off the West Sussex coast, is among 34 sites listed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The bill has been put forward by the Conservative MP for Uxbridge, John Randall.

He said: "The coastal waters surrounding England and Wales are among the most wildlife-rich in Europe, supporting a micraculous web of life from plankton to whales."

John Randall (C) Uxbridge
Mr Randall's bill would protect marine sites

His bill, if it becomes law, would mean added protection, creating a new designation to protect and manage such significant marine wildlife sites.

The wreck of HMS Northcoates is encrusted with a range of species, including Devonshire cup corals and jewel anemones.

Other sites included in the bill will help protect feeding grounds for roseate, little and sandwich terns and the gannet.

These birds are of high conservation concern throughout Europe.

Mr Randall's Marine Wildlife Conservation Bill receives its second reading on Thursday.


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See also:

27 Jun 01 | Scotland
Divers find destroyer wreck
18 Jun 01 | UK
Wartime shipwrecks surveyed
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