§ Mr. Dalyell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) pursuant to his letter G/PSO/23151/96, what review he is undertaking with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of licences for the extraction of aggregates from the sea bed; and what is the time scale; 
(2) pursuant to the letter from the Prime Minister G/PSO/23151/96, what is the allocation of responsibilities for the extraction of aggregates from the sea bed and sediment movements and constant erosion between (a) the Department of the Environment, (b) the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, (c) the Scottish Office and (d) the Welsh Office. 
§ Sir Paul Beresford
The Crown Estate, as landowner, issues licences for aggregates dredging. A prerequisite to the issue of a licence is a favourable Government view issued by the Department of the Environment, or in Wales the Welsh Office, which co-ordinates and considers the views of Government Departments, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and responses to public consultation on the proposals, before issuing of GV. Applications must be accompanied by a report on the potential impact of the proposed dredging on the coastline. If there is a risk of an adverse impact the application is taken no further. Applications are also accompanied by an assessment of the impact on the marine environment—including fish—and on commercial fishing operations. This is considered by MAFF, which is responsible for marine environmental protection, before it passes its views on the application to DOE.
In Scotland, similar arrangements are operated by the Scottish Office Development Department which co-ordinates the GV and seeks comments on issues relating to marine environmental protection from the Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department.
Neither DOE nor MAFF is undertaking a review of licences. These are issued by the Crown Estate. The DOE has, however, undertaken a review of the GV procedures and the Government have announced their intention to introduce a statutory procedure in place of the GV procedure. In the meantime, until a suitable legislative opportunity arises, the Government will be introducing 13W similar, interim, informal procedures following discussion with interested parties in England and Wales. A similar review of the GV procedure is currently being undertaken by the Scottish Office, which expects to reach a conclusion shortly.