HC Deb 26 July 1999 vol 336 c25W
Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the oral answer of 1 July 1999,Official Report, columns 419-20, which is the lead ministerial department on Her Majesty's Government's policy on coral reef degradation. [89963]

The Prime Minister

As is the case for a range of cross-cutting issues, there is no single Government Department responsible for coral reef degradation. Departments lead on the aspects for which they are directly responsible, consulting other Departments where necessary. For exampleThe Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is concerned with coral reefs within the context of biological diversity and the marine environment; The Department for International Development deal with matters relating to coral reefs as they affect economic development in overseas coastal communities; The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible for particular issues concerning coral reefs in British overseas territories; and The management of fisheries and deposits in the sea are largely devolved matters. Insofar as these areas may impact on coral reefs, responsibility within the UK is shared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department, the National Assembly for Wales Agriculture Department and the Departments of Agriculture and the Environment for Northern Ireland. Where particular issues involve the interests of a number of Departments, the ENV Committee provides a forum for Ministerial and official discussion of these issues. It is well known that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions takes a strong personal interest in the issue of coral reef degradation and ensures that it is accorded due attention within Government.