HL Deb 23 May 1984 vol 452 cc324-5WA
Lord Melchett

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are aware of the current destruction of Mollards Wood, Norheads Farm, Biggin Hill; whether they will confirm that pyramid, fragrant, man, common spotted, butterfly and fly orchids and the adder's tongue fern all occur at this site; whether they can confirm that the wild flowers, hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel and ash are being destroyed to allow cereal crops to be planted; and whether they agree that existing legislation is totally inadequate to protect such sites.

Lord Skelmersdale

I am advised by the Nature Conservancy Council that the area affected by clearance operations, Mollards Wood, is not a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The NCC have not carried out a detailed study of the area but understand that the plant species listed by the noble Lord are present and that clearance of some of the land has taken place to allow crops to be planted.

I am also informed that tree preservation orders have now been placed on the parts of the woodlands of amenity value and that the Forestry Commission is investigating possible infringements of the felling licence requirements provided for in forestry legislation.

I do not agree that existing legislation is inadequate to protect such sites.