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Conservation: Solent

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the adequacy of measures to protect the marine environment of the western Solent; whether he has plans to make legislative provision for those measures in a Marine Bill; and if he will make a statement. (156382)

Marine waters in England and Wales are assessed regularly by DEFRA and the Environment Agency. The most recent assessment of the state of the UK seas, “Charting Progress—an Integrated Assessment of the State of the UK Seas” (2005), contains a regional assessment of the Eastern English Channel which includes the Western Solent. Measures in place to protect the marine environment in the western Solent include 100 management plans and initiatives, covering all or part of the Solent, that address issues such as nature conservation, coastal defence and emergency planning.

The Marine Bill will enable us to take a significant step forward in the way we plan for and manage activities in the marine area. It will provide us with the tools to deliver better protection for marine life, and integrated planning and management of our seas, coasts and estuaries. DEFRA officials are working closely with organisations in the western Solent to ensure that the Marine Bill proposals are developed in a way that can be beneficial for that, and other, local areas.