§ Lord MELCHETT
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they are satisfied with the level of the Nature Conservancy Council's present budget in view of the fact that the Council are unable to meet the cost of safeguarding one of the five remaining breeding colonies of one of the three rarest mammals in this country, the Greater Horseshoe Bat, even though the site of this breeding colony is accepted by all concerned to be in immediate danger, and in view of the fact that this breeding colony provides an irreplacable link with the other colonies of Greater Horseshoe Bats, and in view of the fact that the population of these mammals in Great Britain represents their last remaining stronghold in North-West Europe.
§ Lord BELLWIN
Although the additional grant-in-aid which the NCC received last year has not been repeated this financial year, their Public Expenditure Survey Committee provision has been maintained at last year's level. It is for the NCC to allocate their limited resources according to the priority they attach to the demands made on them. They are taking steps to safeguard the three largest known colonies of the Greater Horseshoe Bat, in Devon, South Glamorgan and Gloucestershire. I understand that they are unable within their present budget to allocate funds this financial year to assist the owner to safeguard the colony of Greater Horseshoe Bats in Dorset but that they will reconsider their ability to do so as soon as circumstances permit, unless financial assistance has become available from non-Government sources in the meantime.