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Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection

Volume 471: debated on Tuesday 29 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what decision-making powers the draft Marine Bill will give to the Marine Management Organisation on major infrastructure planning in the marine environment. (181606)

I have been asked to reply.

The proposed Marine Management Organisation (MMO) would make development consent decisions, where the UK Government have responsibility, for all development activities in the marine area with the exceptions only of:

(i) operations that relate to oil and gas exploration and exploitation, and operations relating to the construction, maintenance, protection or removal of submarine pipelines, both of which will continue to be determined under the current regimes;

(ii) offshore renewable energy projects capable of generating more than 100 megawatts of power and major port developments, which will be determined by the proposed Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC). In these cases, the MMO will be a key adviser to the IPC, including on appropriate conditions on development consents.

The MMO will also decide on the appropriate monitoring and enforcement regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects as well as those it consents itself, and take enforcement action when necessary.

The MMO will be set up to be able to take on new functions in the future if that were the best way of achieving sustainable development in the marine area.