HC Deb 10 December 1976 vol 922 cc366-7W
Mr. Mike Thomas

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the procedures to be adopted by the Nature Conservancy Council when it is consulted under Section 9(3) of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, or are given notice under Section 10(7) of that Act; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Strang

Under Section 9(3) my right hon. Friend, or my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, as the case may be, is required to consult with the Nature Conservancy Council before making an order enabling the destruction of a wild species in a specified area. The Council has given an assurance that when it is consulted under this subsection it will in turn consult in particular the appropriate voluntary nature conservation bodies and local authorities and will take their views into account in the advice it gives concerning the proposed order.

Under Section 10(7) the Nature Conservancy Council must be given notice before powers of entry are exercised on a nature reserve maintained or managed by the Council. In addition there are a number of other sites which are of high national importance for nature conservation. Most of these have already been notified by the Council as sites of special scientific interest, and include many nature reserves for which the voluntary nature conservation bodies are responsible. There are also a small number of statutory local nature reserves. The Council intends to draw up administrative arrangements with the Ministry to ensure that as far as possible the procedure of Section 10(7) will be followed for these sites, which will then be treated in the same way as national nature reserves in relation to operations carried out under Section 10. The Council has had discussions with the voluntary nature conservation bodies and is in touch with the local authority associations on how these arrangements might operate in practice.