HC Deb 29 February 2000 vol 345 c198W
Mr. Sanders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make it his policy to introduce a marine conservation Bill to promote the sustainable conservation of marine habitats and species. [111923]

Mr. Mullin

The Government have no plans at present to introduce a marine conservation Bill. My Department conducted a review of coastal byelaw powers in 1998. We have given a long-term commitment to introduce legislation to take forward those recommendations in the review which require changes to the law.

We are also actively considering what measures might be warranted to improve protection of marine habitats and species. My Department has established a review group to look at ways of improving marine nature conservation. The group's final report is expected to be presented to DETR Ministers and the National Assembly for Wales by the end of this year.

In addition, the Countryside Amenity and Conservation Bill will include provisions on wildlife enforcement, and wildlife crime, including crime relating to marine species, will be punishable by tougher measures such as custodial sentences.

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