To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of responses to the provisions for marine policy statements in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009; and what action they will take to secure compliance with marine policy statements. [HL179]
I assume the noble Lord is referring to the results of consultation on provisions on the marine policy statement in the marine planning part of the Marine and Coastal Access Act. Those provisions were developed following wide ranging consultation with stakeholders. They also reflect the outcome of pre-legislative scrutiny in 2008.
My officials are working closely with stakeholders as we develop the marine policy statement. A statement of public participation will soon be issued jointly with devolved Administrations which will set out the timetable for development of the marine policy statement and how and when all interested parties can become involved.
The Marine and Coastal Access Act gives the marine policy statement a legal effect on decision-making by public authorities. This means that when authorities take authorisation or enforcement decisions those decisions must be in accordance with the marine policy statement and marine plans unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise. If they are not in accordance with the marine policy statement or marine plans, authorities must give their reasons. Public authorities must also have regard to those documents in taking any other decision which will affect or may affect any part of the UK marine area.