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Marine Management Organisation

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of (a) the operational effectiveness of the proposed Marine Management Organisation in carrying out its functions as a non-departmental public body and (b) the operational effectiveness of the Marine and Fisheries Agency in performing those functions. (242391)

To ensure that it is fit for purpose the Government intends the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to have the degree of independence from any one Minister or Department that the Marine Fisheries Agency, as an executive agency of DEFRA, currently lacks.

This independence from a single Department of Government is key as the MMO will deliver functions on behalf of Government as a whole—not just for DEFRA. There is also a strong desire across Government for stakeholders to be confident that the MMO is neutral.

It is largely for these reasons that the Government have decided that the MMO should be a non-departmental public body.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to re-allocate funds from existing budgets to fund the location outside London of the proposed Marine Management Organisation. (242404)

DEFRA has been aware of the potential funding required for a relocation for some time. My decision on location of the Marine Management Organisation will be taken into account when 2009-10 budget allocations within DEFRA are agreed in the new year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many of the 40 new posts to be created at the proposed Marine Management Organisation will be in (a) marine planning, (b) corporate services and (c) other areas. (242405)

The Marine Management Organisation will create approximately 43 new posts. 19 will be in marine planning, four will be in corporate services and 20 will be in other areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many marine plans are to be drafted for the proposed Marine Management Organisation; and what deadline has been set for such plans to be produced. (242406)

We are aiming to put in place a significant number of marine plans over a 20 year period. We have not set out in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill either the number of plans or the deadline for their production because this is a new system which needs to evolve.

The figures in the impact assessment published alongside the Bill are based on 10 plans, although the eventual number of plans, and their size will depend on local ecological and regional characteristics and needs in the areas where planning is most needed. We envisage that plans will be created through a phased approach, with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) prioritising resources to the areas where it is determined that early planning will be of most benefit.

We aim to start developing the first plans as soon as the MMO is established. We will be examining these issues during the course of the next year and will consult with stakeholders as part of developing our approach.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff he estimates will be working on marine planning in the proposed Marine Management Organisation’s first year of operation. (242407)

Of the 43 new posts the Marine Management Organisation will create, 19 will be in marine planning.

Our impact assessment suggests that we may need teams of six to co-ordinate each plan, supported by resources from the wider organisation to address requirements such as science, data management and analysis, geospatial systems, legal advice, communications and stakeholder engagement.

Therefore depending on how many plans the MMO works on at any given time it would be likely to require dedicated staff with further input from a range of specialists. The MMO will not be working alone but will be seeking to involve marine and planning expertise from the stakeholder community. Ultimately the numbers engaged in the planning process will be determined by the priority allocated to planning and the availability of resources, in essence the needs of the business.