Dee Estuary

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 29th November 2006.

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Photo of Ben Chapman Ben Chapman Labour, Wirral South 11:30 am, 29th November 2006

What organisations are involved in the administration of the Dee estuary.

Photo of Nick Ainger Nick Ainger Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Secretary of State for Wales

There are two: on the English side, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' Marine Fisheries Agency; and on the Welsh side, the Environment Agency.

Photo of Ben Chapman Ben Chapman Labour, Wirral South

The Dee estuary—a specially protected area, a site of special scientific interest several times over, and a Ramsar site—is one of the most highly protected areas in Europe. Does my hon. Friend therefore agree that the balance between industry and the environment needs to be co-ordinated by a strategic body, rather than by the 80-odd agencies—administrative bodies, local authorities, planning agencies and various other types of agency—that are said to be involved at the moment?

Photo of Nick Ainger Nick Ainger Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Secretary of State for Wales

I understand my hon. Friend's point, but I can reassure him that although up to 80 other organisations have an interest in the Dee estuary's management, from an administrative point of view only the Marine Fisheries Agency and the Environment Agency are involved. I can offer my hon. Friend some hope. Through the White Paper that we will publish shortly, and the marine Bill that we intend to introduce in the next parliamentary Session, we hope to see the consolidation of marine management in places such as the Dee estuary.