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Marine Environment, North Sea

Volume 181: debated on Wednesday 28 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if the Government have measured the effects on sensitive marine environments from discharges of nitrates and phosphates into the North sea; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 27 November 1990]: A substantial part of the marine research budgets of several Government Departments is devoted to work on nutrients and there is extensive monitoring of nutrient levels around our coasts.Monitoring of nutrient levels in coastal and estuarial waters has taken place since 1960 and is now the responsibility of the National Rivers Authority. While nutrient inputs from rivers may have increased, there is no evidence of an increase in nutrients offshore. Monitoring by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland has led to the same conclusion.