17 November 2009

Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs chose Shoreham Port as the place to mark the Royal Assent of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill, creating the Marine and Coastal Access Act.

As no other country in the world has successfully introduced a single piece of legislation to protect the marine environment, the fact he chose the Port as the place to celebrate is a real feather in our crown.

The new Act will create a new marine planning system designed to bring together the conservation, social and economic needs of our seas. A network of Marine Conservation Zones will be created that will protect rare and threatened species and habitats. Four regional projects have started working with local groups and businesses to identify which areas will be designated as Marine Conservation Zones.

Businesses will also benefit from a more streamlined consenting and licensing system through the creation of the Marine Management Organisation. A new range of sanctions will also provide a more flexible approach to marine environment enforcement.

Mr Benn's visit to Shoreham Port was partly down to Julian Seaman, our Harbour Master. "The Marine and Fisheries Agency, which has an office at the Port, were involved in organising the visit" Julian explains. "Paul Johnson, District Inspector of the Marine & Fisheries Agency and I have a very good working relationship and were delighted to welcome the Minister and the chair designate of the Marine Management Organisation Christopher Parry to Shoreham Port."