§ Mr. Hardy
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether the Property Services Agency consults the Nature Conservancy Council before undertaking potentially damaging works upon a site of special scientific interest; and whether, in the light of the provisions of section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, he intends to review existing procedures;
(2) in what ways the procedures of the Property Services Agency take account of section 11 of the Countryside Act 1968.
§ Sir George Young
The Property Services Agency's procedures take account of the desirability of conserving the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside under section 11 of the Countryside Act 1968 in respect both of land held in the name of my right hon. Friend and of that held in the name of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence for whom the PSA acts in an agency capacity. As part of normal estate management, the PSA's procedures provide for positive conservation measures to be adopted, consistent with the operational purposes for which the land is held.
The procedures emphasise the importance of establishing close relationships through informal contact whenever possible between officials of the PSA and the Nature Conservancy Council.
Provided that the PSA has been made aware of the location of a site of special interest by the NCC, the PSA would normally consult the NCC before carrying out any potentially damaging operations on that site. The PSA's procedures have already been reviewed in the light of section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and in the light of the other sections of that Act which may affect the PSA's operations in relation to Crown land.