Question asked by Desmond Swayne T.D., M.P. In October 2008

River Lymington: Ferries

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what measures he is taking to ensure that regulators involved in determining Wightlink's application for shore works on the Lymington River co-ordinate their separate responsibilities to ensure full compliance with the EU Habitats Directive is achieved; and if he will make a statement; [225981]
(2) when he plans to respond to the letters of (a) 5 September and (b) 19 September from the hon. Member for New Forest West on the future of the Lymington River; [225982]
(3) what assessment he has made of the request by New Forest District Council that the application by Wightlink for shore works in the Lymington River be the subject of a full environmental impact assessment; and if he will make a statement. [226574]
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Marine and Fisheries Agency is responsible for determining the application for shore works on the Lymington river under the Food and Environment Protection Act. However, its focus is the deposition of materials in the sea. The delays in determining the decision are as a result of ongoing discussions over the environmental impacts of the ferry operations. There are many regulators involved in this wider project, including Lymington Harbour Commissioners, New Forest district council, Natural England and the Environment Agency. DEFRA is one of the parties involved in the process of establishing who is responsible for regulating the ferry operations in this area, and is aware that a number of related environmental issues need to be considered, potentially with an environmental impact assessment. The Government office south-east will also be expected to play an independent role in resolving the situation.
The Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, Wildlife and Rural Affairs plans to respond to previous letters sent in September as soon as possible.

Desmond Swayne TD MP