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Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) for what reasons the (a) Marine Bill and (b) Draft Marine Bill was not included in the 2006 Queen’s Speech; and if he will make a statement; (157238)

(2) whether a (a) Marine Bill and (b) Draft Marine Bill will be included in the 2007 Queen’s Speech; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what discussions he has had with (a) the Prime Minister and (b) Cabinet colleagues on the inclusion of a (i) Marine Bill and (ii) Draft Marine Bill in the 2007 Queen’s Speech; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what priority he has given to the inclusion of a (a) Marine Bill and (b) Draft Marine Bill in the 2007 Queen’s Speech; and if he will make a statement.

The Government are firmly focused on meeting their commitment to introduce a comprehensive Marine Bill in this Parliament. Proposals have been developed for a Bill that covers a broad and complex set of marine issues spanning many different interests and which, in some cases, break completely new ground.

The Government’s draft legislative programme states that we are considering publishing a draft Marine Bill in the next session of Parliament—we are working to do this in early 2008. Publishing the Marine Bill in draft will allow us to get the legislation right and lead to a better Bill.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State (Hilary Benn) has regular discussions on a range of issues with the Prime Minister and Cabinet colleagues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on (a) the issuing of offshore consents and (b) a Marine Bill; and if he will make a statement. (157241)

My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Hilary Benn) and the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Mr. Hutton) meet regularly to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the Marine Bill. Discussions about offshore consents took place during the preparation of “A Sea of Change: a Marine Bill White Paper”.