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Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection

Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to protect the marine environment; and if he will make a statement. (127356)

[holding answer 13 March 2007]: The Government’s vision for the marine environment is for clean healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. To help deliver this vision we are acting internationally, at European level and at home.

Internationally we have been instrumental in setting a timetable to end destructive high seas bottom trawling. In Europe we have engaged with new initiatives from the Commission and worked hard to see an acceptable political agreement on the Marine Strategy Directive last December. Domestically we have recently announced the licensing of several offshore windfarms which, while ensuring environmental impacts are properly taken into account, together will make a major contribution to provision of renewable energy.

The forthcoming Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, and c.) Regulations 2007 will meet the UK’s obligations to transpose the Birds and Habitats Directive in the offshore marine area. We are also preparing a new Marine Bill. This will put in place a better system for delivering sustainable development of our marine environment, addressing both the use and protection of our marine resources.