My honourable friend the Minister of State for Food, Farming and the Environment (Mr Jim Fitzpatrick) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Part 1 of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill, currently before Parliament, seeks to establish a new executive non-departmental public body called the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). The MMO will subsume Defra’s Marine and Fisheries Agency, take on further functions from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Transport and deliver a range of new functions, as set out in the Bill.
In order to become a legal entity, the MMO must have a chair and a board of at least five and no more than eight ordinary members. However, if recruitment of the board is delayed until after Royal Assent, it is highly likely that vesting of the MMO would have to be delayed. We have therefore sought HM Treasury approval for a contingencies fund advance to begin the recruitment of the board of the MMO prior to Royal Assent. Should Royal Assent not be granted, the recruitment process will be terminated.
Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £50,000 for this new service will be sought in a supplementary estimate for Defra. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure, estimated at £50,000, is being met by a repayable cash advance from the contingencies fund.