8 June 2007
Barrett steps up pressure for Marine Bill
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today backed renewed calls for the introduction of a Marine Bill.
The marine environment around the UK is coming under increasing pressure from a range of human activities. With many marine species, including commercial fish populations, in decline, pressure is growing for a Marine Bill to manage human activities at sea.
The Government have been accused of failing to give sufficient details of when any bill will be published prompting criticism from environmental and conservation groups. The recent controversy over ship to ship oil transfer in particular has raised awareness of the issue across the Lothian’s.
Speaking after an event in Parliament to raise awareness of the need for a Marine Bill, Mr Barrett said:
“I believe we need a Marine Bill urgently to manage and protect our marine environment. At present only a tiny proportion of our seas are protected by law. As an island nation, we have a responsibility to care for our seas and protect the diverse wildlife that lives there.
“We have already waited too long for a Marine Bill. The Government cannot be allowed to continue to drag their feet on this issue.”
“With environmental issues making up a large part of my postbag, I will be keeping up the pressure on the Government and will be writing to Gordon Brown urging him to include a Marine Bill in what will be his first legislative programme as Prime Minister.
Stephanie Hilborne, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts who are leading calls for a Bill added:
“I am delighted that John Barrett has given his support for the Marine Bill. Like climate change, the destruction of marine wildlife is an urgent global issue and the UK Government must take a lead by protecting our own seas. We cannot delay marine legislation any longer - the urgency to protect marine biodiversity is unquestionable.”
The Marine Bill White Paper proposes the following:
• A new system of marine planning;
• A more efficient and transparent system for licensing marine activities;
• A Marine Management Organisation with wide-ranging functions;
• New mechanisms for conserving marine wildlife;
• Modernised inshore fisheries management.