Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 25 May 2023.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much and what proportion of the seabed in the (a) UK Exclusive Economic Zone, (b) Crown Dependencies and (c) British Overseas Territories has been mapped since 1 October 2022; and what targets he has for seabed mapping in those waters in each year to 2030.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he has had recent discussions with the Crown Estate on the potential for supporting the creation of jobs in the context of the leasing of seabed rights in (a) UK territorial waters, (b) the UK Exclusive Economic Zone and (c) the UK Continental Shelf; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of James Cartlidge James Cartlidge The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

Numerous public sector organisations undertake seabed mapping activities in support of their remits. There is also a range of activity within the private sector. There is currently no unified target for seabed mapping across these jurisdictions, other than to remain complaint with relevant international legislation.

Between the 1 October 2022 and the end of March 2023, the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) are aware of activity to map 1672 km2 of seabed to modern international standards within the UK Exclusive Economic Zone around the British Isles. This equates to 0.3% of the UK EEZ, including the UK Territorial Seas and internal waters.

In the Crown Dependencies, who deliver their own mapping requirements with assistance from HMG, the UKHO are aware of 58 km2 being mapped to modern standards during the same period, all within the Isle of Man, equating to 0.6% of their Territorial Sea.

In the UK Overseas Territories, the UKHO are not aware of any seabed mapping activities being undertaken during the period in question.

The creation of jobs in this sphere is not Ministry of Defence responsibility but the department is always willing to support other departments where appropriate and where it has capacity to do so.

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