§ Mr. Ben Chapman
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has planned discussions with the First Minister of the National Assembly with regard to hastening progress towards the implementation of the Dee Cockle Regulation Order. 1550W
§ Mr. Touhig
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 3 February 2004,Official Report, column 773W, I gave assurances that both the Welsh Assembly and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs stand ready to respond swiftly and positively to requests for assistance in this matter from the Environment Agency Wales. When the Environment Agency Wales submit a formal application for a Regulation order, the Government will act as quickly as possible.
My right hon. Friend has regular meetings with the First Secretary and I meet the Welsh Assembly Agriculture Secretary and DEFRA Ministers to discuss a variety of agriculture issues, including the cockle industry.