§ Lord Melchett
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many sites in the United Kingdom, other than the 19 covered by the Ramsar Convention, qualify for special conservation measures concerning their habitat under the provisions of Article 4 of Directive 79/409/EEC;
What criteria have been used to select Claish Moss (Highland), Silver Flowe (Dumfries and Galloway) and Rostherne Mere (Cheshire) as wild bird protection areas, under Article 4 of Directive 79/409/ EEC; how many species listed on Annex 1 of that directive breed at these sites, and what species occur there in internationally important numbers; and
Why the Somerset Levels (Somerset), Derwent Ings (North Yorkshire), Swale Estuary (Kent), Medway Estuary and Marshes (Kent), North Kent Marshes (Kent), the Wash Flats (Norfolk and Lincolnshire), Nene Washes (Cambridgeshire) and mudflats on the Firth of Forth (Fife) have not yet been notified to the EEC Council under Article 4 of Directive 79/409/EEC.
§ The Earl of Avon
I regret that my previous reply gave the impression that the 19 United Kingdom sites designed under the Ramsar Convention had been notified to the Commission under I1(a) of the Council resolution as sites classified under Article 4 of the birds directive. The 19 sites were in fact put forward under I1(b) as areas which the United Kingdom has designated as wetlands of international importance. The three sites mentioned by the noble Lord do not qualify for notification under I1(a) of the resolution. Those Ramsar sites which qualify will be notified to the European Commission, along with other important sites, as soon as an appropriate selection has been made; a number of sites, including those mentioned in the noble Lord's third Question, are under consideration for this purpose.