20 April 2006 NEW INQUIRY

20 April 2006 NEW INQUIRY

A new Marine Bill

Following the publication on the 29th of March of the DEFRA consultation paper, A Marine Bill, the Environmental Audit Committee is launching today a brief inquiry which will look at what should be included in a new Marine Bill. This follows on, in part, from its predecessor Committee's Report, "Environmental Crime: Wildlife Crime", published in October 2004. In that Report, the Committee signalled its support for new legislation to both consolidate and modernise existing laws which govern the marine environment

The Committee invites organisations and members of the public to submit memoranda setting out their views on this inquiry. Some specific issues on which the Committee would welcome comments are set out below, though respondents are free to comment on any issues which they consider relevant:

€ The Consultation Paper outlines five main themes for a new Marine Bill. These are: managing marine fisheries, planning in the marine area, licensing marine activities, improving marine nature conservation and the potential for a new marine management organisation. In identifying these five themes has DEFRA focused on the areas most likely to help deliver an effective and coherent Marine Bill?

€ The seas around the British Isles are a valuable and diverse eco-system. They represent a source of income for many coastal communities and they also represent a significant source of renewable energy in the years to come. Does the Consultation Paper give due consideration to the many varied and often competing demands placed on the marine environment and, if not, where would any new Bill need to be strengthened to rectify this omission?

The Committee expects to take oral evidence on this inquiry in June 2006. Written evidence should be sent to the Committee by 8 June 2006, by e-mail to eacom@parliament.uk and in WORD format. A brief guidance note on the preparation and submission of evidence is available on the Committee's web pages. For further information on the this inquiry, please telephone 020-7219-0715.

Notes for Editors

1. Details of all the Committee's press releases and inquiries, together with its Reports, oral evidence and other publications, are available on the Committee's Internet homepage.

2. The Environmental Audit Committee published its report, Environmental Crime: Wildlife Crime, in October 2004. This was the third in a series of four inquiries which looked at the different aspects of environmental crime. during the course of the Wildlife Crime inquiry the Committee received a number of memoranda which referred to the need for a fresh look at the way in which the marine environment was cared for and managed. The Committee expressed its support for new legislation to consolidate existing legislation which was perceived as out-dated and no longer fit for purpose.