HC Deb 16 June 1998 vol 314 cc156-7W
Mr. Ian Stewart

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans the Government have for the future role of the Inter-Agency Committee on Marine Science and Technology. [46422]

Mr. Battle

The Government have recently reviewed the role and effectiveness of the Inter-Agency Committee on Marine Science and Technology (IACMST) and concluded that it is effective in performing its main function of ensuring that co-ordination takes place across Government on marine science and technology issues. IACMST will therefore continue for the next three years, with a further review of its future taking place at that point.

In response to the more detailed findings of the review, IACMST will increase its focus on international marine activities and on science and technology relating to marine vessels and structures, alongside its traditional emphasis on the marine environment and oceanography. IACMST will also produce a guide for business on responsibilities for marine science and technology within departments and agencies; will continue to work closely with the Marine Foresight Panel; and will begin a review of individual members' strategies for marine science and technology.

Copies of a report setting out the review's conclusions in more detail are available in the Library. This report also mentions some of the main activities currently being undertaken by IACMST, including its co-ordination of a wide range of UK events to mark 1998 as the International Year of the Ocean.