HC Deb 19 December 1991 vol 201 cc445-6
12. Sir Michael Shaw

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy to include environmental protection features to the hill livestock compensatory allowance scheme.

Mr. Gummer

My right hon. Friends and I are currently seeking the views of interested parties on a package of measures designed to enhance environmental aspects of our support for hill farming. We will study the views put to us carefully before drawing final conclusions.

Sir Michael Shaw

Why are the North York moors not included in the 12 proposed environmentally sensitive areas?

Mr. Gummer

Because our statutory advisers did not recommend that they be included. Statutory advisers from the conservation bodies all gave us a list of the areas that they wanted included and, for the most part, we followed those lists in so far as they agreed with one another. The area to which my hon. Friend refers was not considered such a high priority as others. As a result of our decisions, we will now spend five times as much on the environmentally sensitive areas and they will cover three times more of the United Kingdom than previously—more than 12 per cent. of the land area of England. That is a remarkable achievement and I hope that we can build on it in the future.