It is a great pity that there is such a limited amount of time to talk about marine conservation. It lies at the heart of the Bill and has been discussed throughout the Bill's passage, which has been an awful long time.
Amendment 1 is about the importance of socio-economic criteria in deciding MCZs. The amendment would make it clear that socio-economic factors should be taken into account only when they are the final factor in deciding between two zones.
My hon. Friend Ms Clark and Mr. Gummer made strong cases for a network of marine sites-a holistic approach-and my hon. Friend Mr. Mitchell talked in very blunt terms about science. May I draw the Minister's attention to a letter about the importance of science that her colleague, the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend Huw Irranca-Davies, who has responsibility for the marine and natural environment, wrote to the Wildlife and Countryside Link on
"I would like to reassure you that science will be the first consideration in the selection process. When considering potential MCZs, only when the ecological requirements of the network would be met in such considerations, will the Regional Projects be able to consider whether, and if so how, to factor in socio-economic considerations to their decision making".
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