A major charity has backed plans to extend marine conservation zones (MCZ) to the Isle of Wight.

The RSPB is supporting Defra’s bid to protect Bembridge and The Needles and has called for the government to go further and safeguard the south’s seabirds.

Conservation officer Alison Giacomelli said: “We are pleased that the government has made a commitment to protecting these unique areas.

“As we only have two cliff nesting seabird colonies left on the south coast, the kittiwakes at Seaford and the guillemots on the Isle of Wight, it would be logical to protect areas where these birds forage.

“Nature is in trouble on the south coast with vulnerable plants, wildlife and birds in danger of extinction unless they are protected.”

The government has outlined a potential seven new MCZs on the south coast after designating 27 across England and Wales last November.