Mr. Gareth Thomas
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the transfer of responsibility for the confirmation of coastal byelaws. 
§ Mr. Straw
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has agreed that, with effect from 1 January 2000, responsibility for the confirmation of byelaws under section 76 of the Public Health Act 1961 (in respect of seaside pleasure boats) and under section 185 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 (in respect of pleasure boats and vessels let for hire to the public) will be transferred to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency will deal with applications from local authorities for confirmation of these byelaws in England. A Home Office Circular giving further details is being issued to local authorities.