§ Mr. Doran
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about progress on new procedures for the licensing of marine dredged minerals in Scotland. 
§ Mr. Macdonald
The Government intend to introduce new regulations to license the extraction of minerals by marine dredging in Scotland by March 1999. The new procedures should make the process for obtaining licenses more open and efficient. The regulations will also address environmental concerns over the impact of dredging by implementing the requirements of EEC Directive 85/337/EEC (as amended by EC Directive 11/97/EEC) on Environmental Impact Assessment in so far as they apply to the extraction of minerals by marine dredging. There will be appropriate consultation on the provisions in due course.
The decision to introduce the regulations by March 1999 means that it is no longer necessary to put in place an interim scheme to administer the very limited dredging activity that takes place in Scotland as was announced to the House on 17 December 1997, Official Report, column 212.