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Volume 659: debated on Thursday 9 May 2019

Our focus is on ensuring that effective monitoring and protection are in place. Since 2017, we have increased the protection of seabirds by creating five new marine special protection areas and extending a further nine sites. I draw your attention in particular, Mr Speaker, to the SPA at Flamborough Head, which has been extended to protect nesting and foraging areas for a range of seabirds, including kittiwakes and puffins.

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. The UK’s seabird population is in serious decline. Will the Minister use the forthcoming review of the UK marine strategy to set out a recovery plan that includes both targets and a timeline?

Yes, we will. The plan will include targets to ensure that good environmental status is met for seabirds and set the indicators that we use to assess their status. Of course, we will continue to do other work such as reducing the impact of invasive species, which are damaging seabird colonies; carrying out the UK plan of action on seabird bycatch; and, as many across the House support, reducing marine litter, particularly marine plastic.