§ Mr. Ron Davies
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why the designation of environmentally sensitive areas in Northern Ireland has been delayed; when he expects the first formal designation to be made; and what plans he has for further designations in the Province.
§ Mr. Viggers
[holding answer 8 March 1988]: The delay in designating environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) in Northern Ireland has been caused by the need to introduce primary legislation to enable such designations to take place, and by the lengthy consultations with the EC Commission to ensure that the proposals for the Province's first ESA would be acceptable for approval under EC regulation 797/85. A statutory rule is presently being prepared and it is expected that the Mourne mountains and Slieve croob ESA will be formally designated in the near future.
One more ESA is planned in the present round of designations. Recommendations that an area of north-east Antrim (The Glens) is worthy of ESA status are being considered.