By Press Association

Conservationists warn lack of protection for key English marine sites puts wildlife at risk after government announces just 23 potential new conservation zones

The Government has been accused of “dragging its feet” on protecting the seas, as it announced fewer than two dozen potential sites for new conservation areas.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has proposed 23 new marine conservation zones in the second stage of creating a network of protected areas in the seas around England – down from 37 candidate sites announced last year.