HC Deb 20 April 1994 vol 241 cc881-2
12. Mr. Fabricant

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps his Department is taking to protect endangered flora and fauna indigenous to the British Isles from extinction.

Mr. Atkins

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides comprehensive statutory protection for endan-gered wild species of flora and fauna and their habitat in Great Britain. Further measures will be introduced shortly to meet legal objectives under the EC habitats directive.

Mr. Fabricant

Does my hon. Friend agree with me that the biodiversity action plan steering group will provide a major opportunity to protect in the United Kingdom endangered species such as the dormouse, red squirrels, otters, pine martens, the lady's slipper orchid and, indeed, strapwort? Will my hon. Friend also confirm that he intends to protect the habitat and species named in the UK Red Data book?

Mr. Atkins


Mr. Foulkes

Does the Minister accept that two of the most endangered species in Britain are Tory councillors and Tory MPs, and that no amount of grant gerrymandering by the Government will save them from near extinction on 5 May and 9 June?

Mr. Atkins

I wish that there were protection for the loud-voiced bamboozler which is obviously represented by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

Does my hon. Friend agree that the only enduring way to protect wildlife is to conserve and create habitat? Will he therefore work with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to ensure that the habitat scheme is made effective under the new set-aside arrangements?

Mr. Atkins

As I think the House knows, my hon. Friend has a distinguished record in, and knowledge and understanding of, these matters through his own personal experience. I will certainly give detailed consideration—indeed, I am doing so—to the points that he raises.

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