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Marine Environment: Gibraltar

Volume 709: debated on Wednesday 1 April 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the European Commission has designated an area of Gibraltar's waters to be a European Union environmentally-sensitive site under Spanish responsibility; if so, whether the United Kingdom permanent representation to the European Union was aware of this prior to the Commission's designation; if so, what representations were made to the Commission by the Government; and what representations have been made to the Commission following its decision. [HL2380]

On 12 December 2008, the European Commission adopted Decision 2009/95/EC, adopting a second updated list of sites of Community importance under the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). It has now come to our attention that, under the decision Spain has put forward, a candidate site encompasses British Gibraltar territorial waters. As the UK is the only member state competent to propose a site covering British Gibraltar territorial waters, we do not recognise the validity of the adopted site. We have already made representations to both the European Commission and Spain on this matter and are currently considering our options to redress this issue.