Marine and Coastal Access Bill [ Lords]

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 5:20 pm on 23rd June 2009.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 5:20 pm, 23rd June 2009

I am not going to give the right hon. Gentleman a number now as it would not be wise to do so. I know that there has been a campaign regarding the percentages of the seas that should be so designated. The right approach is to look at the evidence, look at the science, find out what is there—we know some things already, but there is a lot, as the right hon. Gentleman will acknowledge, that we do not yet know—and work from the bottom up, rather than artificially sticking into the Bill a percentage at the beginning, which would be the wrong way to go.

The Bill clearly places a duty to designate an ecologically coherent network of marine conservation zones, and gives Ministers the power to protect them in an appropriate way, having regard to what one is seeking to protect.

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