asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied that there are sufficient legislative provisions to prevent the erosion of the coastline by the removal of sand, in view of current activities in the South Shields constituency.
I have no reason to think that the legislation is inadequate.
Has the Minister seen the report on beaches in South Shields, prepared by the Hydraulic Research Station, in which it is stated that removal of sand, and damage to coastal defences might not be unconnected? Is he convinced that the legislation contains sufficient financial provision to allow the local authority to purchase the beach from the owner, and thus stop the removal of sand?
I am aware of that report and of the view of the Hydraulic Research Station. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that this is a matter for the Coast Protection Authority. It has the power needed to make a prohibition order, which can be confirmed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Indeed, 28 such orders are applicable round the coast of the United Kingdom.