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Amendments made: No. 32, in page 3, line 27, leave out from beginning to end of line 36 and insert
'(2) This subsection applies to any operation
(a) which a competent marine authority proposes to undertake; or
(b) to which a competent marine authority proposes to give its consent,
if in the opinion of the competent marine authority the operation is likely to damage any of the flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features by reason of which a marine area is a marine site of special interest.
(3) If subsection (2) applies, the competent marine authority must before deciding to undertake the operation or give consent to the operation give notice to the appropriate nature conservation body.
(4) The competent marine authority must not decide to undertake the operation or give consent to it before whichever is the earliest of
(a) the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which notice is given under subsection (3); or
(b) the receipt of representations from the appropriate nature conservation body.
(5) In deciding whether to undertake the operation or give consent to it the competent marine authority must consider any representations made by the appropriate nature conservation body and must notify the appropriate nature conservation body of how (if at all) it has taken into account the representations.
(6) To the extent that the competent marine authority does not take into account the representations of the appropriate nature conservation body it must, in undertaking or giving consent to the
'(1) Any one or more of the bodies mentioned in subsection (2) may establish a management scheme'.
'at least every five years'.
'and to those subject to notification under section 1(1)'.
'(6) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1, no notification establishing a marine site of special interest shall take effect until a management scheme has been established.
(7) In establishing a management scheme, the competent marine authority shall have due regard to
(a) any directions of the Secretary of State (as regards England) and the National Assembly for Wales (as regards Wales) issued under section 5;
(b) the likely cost of establishing and maintaining the management scheme and the availability of sustainable funding to continue to meet that cost;
', after due consultation with those subject to notification under section 1(1) and the appropriate nature conservation body'.
'shall comply with international best practice and'.
Mr. Meacher: The establishment, where appropriate, of management schemes for MSSIs will set the framework in which activities will be managed, so as to secure a site's conservation objectives. The amendments are therefore important, and once again I recognise the important contribution of my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon (Mr. Dismore) in enabling us to reconsider several of these points.
Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 outline which bodies may be involved in the creation of a management scheme. By way of background, I should point out that regulation 34 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994known as the habitats regulationsallows for the creation of management schemes for European marine sites to fulfil our obligations under the EC directives on wild birds and on habitats. Having regard to the list of species and habitats included in those directives, such sites are of international importance. A statutory basis already exists, therefore, for management schemes for European marine sites, and through pilots for those sites we are already developing schemes on the ground. It would be appropriate therefore if the bodies able to make management schemes under the Bill were, as far as possible, the same as those bodies permitted to make schemes under the habitats regulations. The bodies listed in amendment No. 2 have been chosen explicitly to ensure that there is a large degree of consistency.
Amendment No. 14 provides the power for the Secretary of State, in respect of England, and the National Assembly for Wales, in respect of Wales, to alter, if necessary, the list proposed by amendment No. 2 by means of statutory instrument. For England, that will be subject to the negative resolution procedure. The procedures for a statutory instrument as regards Wales require approval by the National Assembly for Wales in accordance with its Standing Orders.
Any one or more of the prescribed bodies may establish a management scheme, but it is important that, as far as possible, all the organisations or people who carry out activities within an MSSI are consulted about its establishment. Amendment No. 4 will give those bodies an opportunity to engage fully in the consultation process that develops a management scheme, and ensure that their interests are taken into account. That is especially important for those competent marine authorities not directly involved in the setting up of management schemes, which nevertheless under clause 3(2)(b) will have to take reasonable steps to carry our their functions in accordance with such schemes.
Amendment No. 3 will ensure that the bodies that make the scheme exercise their functions to secure the conservation objectives. That, coupled with the duty in clause 3 on all competent marine authorities to take reasonable steps to ensure that they exercise their functions in accordance with a management scheme, should ensure that the schemes make a positive contribution to the conservation of sites.
There may be situations where an MSSI is notified within a marine area in which a European marine site has already been established or a European marine site is established which overlaps an existing MSSI. I referred to this matter earlier, and I shall say a little more about it now. New clause 4 will remove the possibility of an MSSI and a European marine site overlapping if they are designated for identical reasons.
There are, however, likely to be occasions when an MSSI overlaps a European marine site but the MSSI has been notified to protect features different from those covered by the European site. In those cases MSSls and European sites may overlap. That may happen in cases where the criteria for notifying an MSSI identifies a nationally important species not listed in the directives within a European site designated for a different species or habitat. I am sorry that this is rather complex, but I hope that the sense of it is clear. It is important that the management of overlapping sites is co-ordinated with the minimum of additional bureaucracy, and the amendments are designed to achieve that.
For that reason amendment No. 5 ensures that where an MSSI and a European site overlap, there cannot be more than one management scheme. Where a European site overlaps an MSSI either partially or fully, the management scheme for the European site can take into account the conservation objectives of the MSSI, as long as those are compatible with management of the features for which the European site was designated. If the European site has no management scheme, then a management scheme may still be made for the MSSI.
Amendments Nos. 6 and 8 to 12 are intended to improve and clarify the text relating to when and how a management scheme should be amended and published. It is important that when a scheme is established, it is kept under review to ensure that it takes account of relevant activities that may affect the site. To ensure that the reviews are regular, amendment No. 7 requires that they are carried out at least once every five years.
As currently drafted, the Bill makes no provision for identifying a date when a management scheme comes into force. That is important, because the activities of competent marine authorities in relation to an MSSI are affected by the establishment of a management scheme. Amendment No. 13 provides such a date by linking the establishment date to the publication of the scheme.
There may be occasions when, for a number of reasons, a management scheme for an MSSI has not been developed. Clause 5 provides the opportunity for the Secretary of State, with regard to England, or the National Assembly for Wales for sites in Wales, to direct those bodies capable of establishing a management scheme to do so, if they feel that a management scheme is required.
Amendments Nos. 16 to 19 are textual amendments to clause 5 to ensure consistency in terminology between this clause and other clauses in the Bill. Amendments Nos. 22 to 24 provide similar changes to clause 5. Those changes will allow the confirming authority to make directions to amend management schemes that are already in existence. Experience suggests that plans prepared by local bodies and suited to local circumstances are more effective than those imposed from outside. However, there may be circumstances in which schemes that have been established do not, for one reason or another, function effectively. The direction to amend management schemes may be used if it becomes clear that local liaison, co-ordination or consultation has proved inadequate to achieve the site's conservation objectives. However, I want to stress that our preferred option is to allow those bodies that operate and know the site area to prepare and manage a scheme.
I commend the Government amendments to the House. In the light of my detailed explanation, I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Hendonto whose concerns we have given careful considerationwill not feel that it is necessary to press his amendment.