asked Her Majesty's Government:
What proposals they have to safeguard ecological interests in Greater London and the metropolitan counties after the abolition of the GLC and the county authorities.
§ The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Lord Elton)
The Local Government Bill provides for the transfer to the borough and district councils of the GLC and MCCs' existing powers and duties, including consultation requirements, in relation to planning national parks and countryside matters. In addition DoE Circular 108/77 asked local authorities to take full account of natural conservation factors in formulating development plans and in other planning matters and pointed to the value of consultation with the Nature Conservancy Council. We intend to re-emphasise this advice in the memorandum to borough and district councils on the preparation of unitary development plans which we expect to publish in the autumn. Clause 88 of the Bill, which is based on the powers used by the GLC to collect ecological information and to undertake research into the natural environment, also provides for the borough and district councils to make schemes for London or county-wide research and information activities; and the co-ordinating committee to be established in each area will have a specific duty to consider and, where desirable, promote the making of such schemes. Where any successor authority wishes to retain existing specialist teams, the residuary bodies will be able to provide a temporary home until long-term arrangements can be worked out; they will have a specific duty to review existing services and canvass successor authorities' views to this end.