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To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 20 May (WA 316), whether the discussions with the Netherlands and Germany have considered how the three governments should work together in enforcing the Dogger Bank special area of conservation; and, if so, when the results will be published.
The Government have not designated any part of the Dogger Bank in UK waters as a special area of conservation (SAC) under the EC Habitats Directive. Our statutory nature conservation body, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), has put forward proposals for a SAC at Dogger Bank within UK waters. The proposals are currently being considered by Defra. JNCC plan, subject to approval, to conduct a formal consultation on the proposals before the end of 2009. If, following that consultation, any part of the Dogger Bank requires designation as an SAC, Defra plans to submit the site to the European Commission in 2010.
As no SAC has yet been designated in UK waters, no detailed discussions have taken place with the Netherlands and Germany regarding any enforcement measures that may be required to protect the area. However, as the Dogger Bank is a cross-boundary feature, officials from Defra and the JNCC have met regularly with their Dutch and German counterparts regarding the scientific justification for the designation of the Dogger Bank as an SAC, and the human activities that may affect its conservation status.