Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

SESSION 2003-04
21 March 2004 REPORT PUBLISHED ON THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT

21 March 2004 REPORT PUBLISHED ON THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT

Today, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has published a report about the Marine Environment. The report concentrates on some of the key factors hindering effective protection of the marine environment. The main conclusions of the report are:

  • in view of the increasing demands we place on the seas, it is imperative that urgent action is taken to prevent further decline in the marine environment, for example, damage to the ocean floor and reductions in marine biodiversity;

  • there is a pressing need to update and streamline the legislative and institutional framework governing marine environmental protection; and

  • environmental protection is underpinned by scientific understanding of marine ecosystems and the Government must ensure that the excellent work carried out in our universities and research institutions can continue and that data management is improved so that best use can be made of existing information.

On publication of the report the Chairman, Michael Jack MP, said, “The report highlights the complexity of the issues which affect policy towards the marine environment. It is an environment which needs Government protection, as far as the seas around the United Kingdom are concerned. But this will not be achieved unless the Government creates a much improved mechanism to ensure that all the Departments that have both an interest and a responsibility in this area work together much more effectively than at present.”

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NOTES FOR EDITORS

The Report follows an inquiry conducted between November 2003 and January 2004.  The inquiry was announced in our Press Notice of 17 July 2003 (which is available on our website).

The Committee received written evidence from a number of interested parties. It took oral evidence from Wildlife and Countryside LINK, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the UK Major Ports Group, the British Ports Association, Professor John Gage, the Joint Nautical Archaeology Committee, British Geological Survey and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The full report will be available on our website from around 3.30 pm on 22 March.