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Use Brexit freedom to stop French fishing boats from 'pillaging our waters': Green Tory MPs back Rishi Sunak in growing row with Paris over UK ban on bottom trawlers wreaking havoc in protected areas

Britain must use its Brexit freedom to keep destructive French fishing boats out of protected UK waters, Tory MPs have warned amid a growing row with Paris.

Rishi Sunak is resisting pressure from the Macron government ahead of elections in France over a decision to ban bottom trawlers from 13 Marine Protected Areas.

It claims the move breaches the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, potentially opening the door to punitive measures against Britain.

Many trawlers operating out of Boulogne depend on catches from the 13 areas subject to the restrictions.

Conservation groups have backed the action to protect the ecological balance in the MPs, which cover around 4,000 square kilometres. 

And now MPs from the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) have backed Mr Sunak to keep the boats out of the areas, which stretch from Northumberland to Cornwall. 

Hastings and Rye's Sally-Ann Hart said: 'Brexit has afforded us all manner of freedoms to protect and restore our natural environment ... we can now ban destructive bottom trawling in the offshore marine protected areas around our beautiful coastline to protect our wildlife. 

'Yet, the EU are now angry that they will no longer be able to pillage our waters and destroy wildlife habitats without consequence. We cannot allow other countries to curb and dictate our environmental ambition.


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