§ Mr. Blizzard
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress has been made with the development of a safety code for port marine operations; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hill
The Port Marine Safety Code is being published on Monday and copies will be placed in the Library of the House. The Code represents an important waypoint in the development with all parties in the ports and shipping industry of an agreed national standard for the discharge by harbour authorities of their legal functions relating to marine safety. It applies to port marine operations the well-established principles of risk assessment and safety management systems. It establishes a measure by which harbour authorities can be accountable for the legal powers and duties which they have to run their harbours safely. We are asking all harbour authorities with these obligations, to prepare plans to implement the Code by the end of 2001. In the meantime, work will continue with the industry to develop competence standards for all port marine professionals, and associated qualifications. We are also supporting the development of a guide to good practice on port marine operations, which we hope will be completed this year.