(2) if he will set out his objectives for the Marine Management Organisation in advance of the publication of the draft Marine Bill;
(3) if he will establish the Marine Management Organisation prior to the development of a marine policy statement.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will be operating under the marine policy statement which will set out our commitment on a range of marine policies. The importance of the ecosystem approach and ensuring sustainable development will be an integral part of this policy statement.
With regard to the protection of biodiversity in the marine environment, the MMO will be subject to the duty contained in section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, to have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of its functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity. In addition, we are proposing that the MMO be responsible for making byelaws to protect marine conservation zones from potentially damaging activities.
The Marine Management Organisation will act as a champion for the integrated management of our seas, contributing to sustainable development by bringing together the delivery of many of the marine functions of the UK Government. The draft Marine Bill will reflect this, and objectives will be set in advance of the new organisation being formed, but we will not be setting out our objectives for the Marine Management Organisation in advance of the publication.
The exact timing of the development of the policy statement will depend on the passage of the Marine Bill. However, we are aiming to put the statement in place as soon as possible so that we can provide a clear policy direction to the MMO.
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Leominster (Bill Wiggin) on 8 January 2008, Official Report, column 395W.