UK: Government wants views on new Marine Bill Published: 30 March, 2006
SEA users, industries, and conservation groups now have a chance to influence proposals for new laws that will improve the management of the marine environment. The Government has set out plans for its Marine Bill, a new framework for the seas, that will work towards delivering clean, healthy, safe, productive, and biologically diverse oceans and seas. It is asking people and organisations what they think of the proposals. Ben Bradshaw, Defra’s Marine Minister, said: “The scale of the marine environment, and the activities connected with it, is enormous. UK seas cover an area three times that of the land. Yet despite its size, pressure on our sea is increasing from a variety of users. “For example, 17 million people live within 10km of the sea, with many more visiting as tourists. Around 40 per cent of our manufacturing industry is based on or near the coast. The bulk of our foreign trade passes through our sea ports, and the sea provides resources as diverse as fish, oil and gas, renewable energy, and sand and gravel. “All this happens in an important and vulnerable marine ecosystem. That’s why we need a comprehensive, integrated system that takes account of the needs of all these interests, and we want to hear from those who represent them.” The administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, along with Government departments, recognise the need to work together for a more coherent approach to the management of all UK marine waters. They have been working closely with Defra to ensure that the proposals for the Bill address all relevant interests within the terms of both current and future devolution arrangements.
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