Waste Reception Facilities at Harbours

Part of Merchant Shipping and Maritime Security Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 8:27 pm on 17th March 1997.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Andrew Smith Andrew Smith Shadow Secretary of State for Transport 8:27 pm, 17th March 1997

The Minister earlier referred to the spirit of Donaldson. That is indeed the spirit in which the Bill has been approached by both sides of the House. I commend the expertise and experience of Back Benchers and Front Benchers on both sides. I am especially grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Ms Jackson) and to my other hon. Friends, whose experience in relevant matters has been so evident.

This is a good Bill, which will strengthen security at sea and improve the protection of our maritime environment. That does not mean that it is a perfect Bill. We were pleased to be able to improve it a little with our new clause on training. There are remaining concerns about the availability of salvage expertise, the provision of standby tugs and the operation of waste facilities.

The Government's argument on all those matters has been that the powers already exist or that they are acting anyway. I refer particularly to the designation of marine environmental high risk areas. We were assured that it was the Government's intention to get those designated and that that was expected later this year. We are not satisfied with the progress that the Government have made. They say that the powers exist and that matters are in train. I give a pledge that whereas the present Government have so far failed to designate those areas, the next Government will certainly do so.

The Bill is a step forward. Let us see it passed into law without further delay.