Marine and Coastal Access Bill

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 3rd February 2009.

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Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon UUP, North Down

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received from the Northern Ireland Executive in relation to the Marine and Coastal Access Bill; what discussions he has had with the Minister for the Department of the Environment in relation to the Bill; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Huw Irranca-Davies Huw Irranca-Davies Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Marine and Natural Environment)

Northern Ireland Ministers have worked with other UK Ministers throughout the development of the proposals in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill, most recently through the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) which held its plenary meeting in June 2008 when the draft Bill was discussed.

Northern Ireland is fully committed to the policy aims underpinning the draft UK Bill in order to introduce a new framework for the marine environment based on sustainable development principles, which will work towards delivering clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. Ministers have also taken part in discussions on the Legislative Consent Motion needed from the Northern Ireland Assembly on certain measures in the Bill.

The JMC announced on 27 November 2008 that the UK Government and devolved Administrations, including Northern Ireland, had reached agreement on a UK-wide approach to marine planning. This provides a coherent legislative framework with greater clarity and certainty for all those seeking to enjoy, or make a living from, the UK's waters.

In addition, the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive work together as part of the British-Irish Council Environment Group which discussed marine issues at its last meeting in February 2008. Officials from the UK Government and the devolved Administrations continue to work together on the UK Bill and the expected Northern Ireland Assembly Bill.

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