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New Clause 2 — Power to enter into agreements with eligible bodies

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 26th October 2009.

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Photo of Roger Williams Roger Williams Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 4:15 pm, 26th October 2009

I, too, have taken great pleasure in being part of the Bill, because it is hugely important to protect the marine environment on which so many of our people depend for their employment and which makes an important contribution to biodiversity locally, nationally and internationally.

I rise briefly to speak to amendment 27, which is in my name. Having said that, I welcome Government new clauses 2, 3 and 6, which are based on the amendment that Martin Salter tabled in Committee. The Minister at that time gave a commitment to look at the aims and purposes of that proposal and to see whether it could be worked into the Bill.

If the new clause had been tabled in the form of the proposal made by the hon. Member for Reading, West, we might have sought to amend it following certain things that have been brought to my attention. The current proposals mention allowing IFCAs to enter into agreements with other bodies to allow the latter to take on some of the duties and powers of the former, but only with the permission and agreement of the Secretary of State. The Welsh Assembly Government have made it known that they want to take on the role of the IFCA for Wales, and it seems inappropriate for them to have to seek the permission of the Secretary of State to enter into such agreements.

We are talking about the very important species that live some of their time in the oceans and some of their time in fresh water-diadromous fish. They are particularly vulnerable, because they can be badly affected by over-fishing as they approach our shores. However, they can also be badly affected because their spawning grounds could be detrimentally affected by practices farther up the rivers. Therefore, my amendment goes to the heart of the matter in giving the Welsh Assembly Government the powers to allow Welsh IFCAs to enter into agreements to transfer responsibilities and duties that the Secretary of State has in relation to IFCAs in England. It is a simple amendment, but it would clarify the devolved powers that the Welsh Assembly wishes to take on.

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