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Marine Bill must have "teeth" to be effective says Farron

December 3, 2008 12:00 PM

Shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA Tim Farron MP has welcomed the announcement made today in the Queens Speech that the Government intends to introduce a Marine Bill into Parliament; but has warned that it must offer a genuine commitment to promoting a healthy, productive marine environment if it is to be a success.

Commenting after the announcement was made, Mr Farron said:

"The Liberal Democrats have long been calling for a Marine Bill and welcome its inclusion in the Queens speech; but if it's to be effective it must have teeth and can't simply be just another case of the Government trying to tackle an issue by creating needless quangos.

"An effective Marine Bill is essential, not only to protect the marine environment and to assist in regulating the climate, but also to effectively manage the competing scientific, social and economic demands on our seas.

"It's also important that it balances the needs of the natural environment with the practical needs of the fishing industry and of land managers on the coastal path.

"However currently there are very few obligations imposed on the Government within the Bill and where it should place a duty on the Secretary of State to commit to action, it merely enables change.

"The Government must also consider how it will implement this Bill in line with the devolved administrations and the European Union.

"Nevertheless, this Bill is long overdue; but we can only hope that it won't take as long to get on the statute book as the Climate Change Bill and that the Government will show a genuine commitment to creating a Marine Act before the next election."