HC Deb 06 January 2003 vol 397 c21W
Geraldine Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the state of the Morecambe Coastal Protection Scheme. [87589]

Mr. Morley

Defra provides funding to local authorities for coast protection capital works that meet technical, economic and environmental criteria and achieve an appropriate priority score. However responsibility for deciding which projects to promote and their timing rests with the local authorities, in this case Lancaster city council.

I understand that the proposed works will have a significant effect on the Morecambe Bay special protection area and candidate special area of conservation. For such a scheme to proceed and in the absence of alternative options the council will be obliged to provide compensatory measures in accordance with the requirements of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 (as amended). I understand that the council are investigating options for compensatory measures as a matter of urgency, prior to submitting their application for funding to Defra.