Amendment 83

Part of Fisheries Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 4:42 pm on 9th March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Teverson Lord Teverson Chair, EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, Chair, EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee 4:42 pm, 9th March 2020

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, for an excellent and important amendment. There is no point doing any of this stuff if we cannot enforce it, and enforcement on the high seas is one of the most difficult tasks that there is in terms of enforcement of laws and regulations, as we well know.

I absolutely take the noble Baroness’s point—I hope the Minister does as well, although I am sure he does—about the sensitivity of this. If negotiations are difficult, potentially we will have quite angry people on the seas from 1 January. It is important that any incident can be dealt with properly and diplomatically. We saw in the Baie de Seine, back in the latter part of 2018, how a dispute on the high seas quickly becomes dangerous and difficult to control—sense came when the two Governments came together afterwards to sort it out. There are all sorts of tensions there.

The question I particularly want to ask the Minister is about something that came up when the Secretary of State was in front of the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee last week. One of the officials there with the Secretary of State said that a lot of the money going into enforcement was part of the Brexit process and therefore temporary. I would be interested to hear from the Minister what sort of budget has been put forward for additional enforcement over the time of Brexit and a potential Australian-style deal at the end of this year. What is the ongoing enforcement funding likely to be? There is too much temptation for the Treasury to be generous—realistic, shall we say—with enforcement funding over the Brexit transition period but thereafter ask Defra for huge economies in enforcement as it has done in the past. Assurances from the Minister, or otherwise, would be very useful at this stage.