§ Mr. Gareth Wardell
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department is considering the clean-up of estuarial waters used for harvesting shellfish on a commercial basis.
§ Mr. John Patten
Water authorities are responsible for determining their own relative spending priorities. The existence of commercial shell fisheries in their area is one of the factors taken into account. A number of major projects are currently under way to improve estuarial waters. For example, the southern water authority is proposing to spend over £20 million on outfall improvements in the Solent and Southampton Water areas, which will improve water quality over shellfish beds in the area. My Department is keeping the matter under review, but considers that there is no need to depart from existing policy.