It would be ‘absurd’ to locate the new Marine Management Organisation (MMO) other than in the South West, according to former North Cornwall MP, Lord Tyler.

The Liberal Democrat Peer spoke yesterday (Wednesday) in a detailed debate on the Marine and Coastal Access Bill, which will bring the MMO into being. Following an exclusive report in the Western Morning News that the new agency would be based in Newcastle, Lord Tyler told Peers, “The availability of these skills in the south-west, where expert information is available in a number of institutions and given its proximity not just to the Western Approaches but to the Irish Sea, makes it a far more appropriate location than the far north-east.”

The Minister responding, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, insisted that he could not reveal the location. He said, “I am not in a position to give any more information at this stage. I have checked, and the answer is that we will announce this when all the information and evidence have been carefully considered. It will be announced in Parliament in due course. Frankly, the shortlisted locations all would have made a very good home for the MMO, and this has been a very difficult decision. I understand that this is a very important decision for the staff involved, and I can only regret that some kind of allegation has appeared in a local newspaper. I understand people’s concern on this.”

Commenting after the debate, Lord Tyler said:

“It would be ridiculous to shun the South West’s extensive expertise in this area.

“We are best placed to ensure the MMO is a success, ensuring a joined-up approach to new developments off the coast.

“It is beyond belief that the Government could consider urban Newcastle a more appropriate location than the region which has a whole 30% of the national coastline.

“Reassurances that this is an open process ring hollow when Ministers openly cling to information they could clearly make available. There should be an immediate statement to Parliament, to put an end to the confusion and uncertainty which is unnecessarily being visited on existing staff.”


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