§ Mrs. Castle
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will take steps, through a compulsory purchase order under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, to conserve for wild life the 5,500 acres of 387W marshes on the Ribble estuary, Lancashire, which has been bought by Mr. Heerema for reclamation.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, in the light of the threat to the irreplacable bird habitat of the Ribble estuary posed by the purchase of 6,000 acres by a foreign developer, if he will make a statement on the steps he proposes to take to safeguard this, the second most important estuary for birds in Great Britain.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he will take under the Countryside Act and possible compulsory purchase orders to preserve the countryside by saving the Ribble Estuary from reclamation for intensive farming, which would destroy the nature of this area of outstanding countryside and endanger many species of birds.
§ Mr. Kilroy-Silk
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make an order under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, to protect the wildlife on the marshes of the Ribble Estuary.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
Power to acquire land for nature reserves compulsorily under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, as amended, is vested in the Nature Conservancy Council. The NCC is seeking to reach an agreement with the owner which would remove the threat to wild life in the Ribble Estuary. Under the Act the Council cannot contemplate compulsory purchase action until it has taken all reasonable steps to protect a site by other means.
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what recent representations he has received in connection with plans to turn the Ribble estuary into an area of intensive agriculture; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
The Nature Conservancy Council and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds have written to me recently about the threat to wildlife in the Ribble Estuary and the NCC has kept me abreast of developments. The NCC is attempting to reach an agree-388W ment with the new owner which would safeguard wildlife.