HC Deb 19 February 1986 vol 92 cc311-2
14. Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on progress being made to establish the first marine nature reserve.

Mr. Waldegrave

Good progress is being made at Lundy. The Nature Conservancy Council hopes to go out to consultation in the spring and put formal proposals to my right hon. Friend in the summer.

Mr. Carlisle

I respect my hon. Friend's efforts to achieve voluntary agreement for the first marine nature reserve, but it is now more than four years since the Wildlife and Countryside Act gave us the obligation to establish such reserves. If voluntary agreement for a marine nature reserve is not reached in the very near future, will my hon. Friend ensure that Parliament takes powers so that the Government can impose the first reserve?

Mr. Waldegrave

I gave a pledge—to my hon. Friend, I believe—that we must have a reserve within 12 to 18 months of a commitment that I made some time ago. We are still within that time scale, but we are watching the situation very closely, because no further slippage would be tolerable.

Mr. Skinner

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker

I will take the point of order afterwards.

Mr. Skinner

So long as I can make it before the Minister of State leaves the Chamber.