§ Mr. Stern
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he next intends to announce the designation of an area either as a site under the Ramsar convention on the conservation of wetlands of international importance or as a special protection area under the European Community directive on the conservation of wild birds or both.
§ Mr. Moynihan
We are currently considering a number of proposals put forward by the Nature Conservancy Council for the classification of sites as special protection areas under the EC birds directive and/or as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar convention. While we shall endeavour to reach a decision on these cases as expeditiously as possible, I cannot forecast when the next classification of a site will be announced. Classification of sites in Scotland is the responsibility of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.
§ Mr. Stern
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will list the criteria and guidelines for the identification of wetlands of international importance for listing under the Ramsar convention which were adopted by the third conference of contracting130W parties to the convention at Regina, Canada, in June 1987; and what is the extent to which the criteria and guidelines will be adopted in identifying wetlands of international importance in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Moynihan
The criteria and guidelines for the identification of wetlands of international importance for listing under the Ramsar convention which were revised at the third conference of contracting parties at Regina, are as follows:
Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance for Designation for the List under Article 2 of the Ramsar Convention
As revised at the Third Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties in Regina
A wetland is suitable for inclusion in the List if it meets any of the criteria set out below:
- 1. Criteria for assessing the value of representative or unique wetlands.
- A wetland should be considered internationally important if it is a particularly good example of a specific type of wetland characteristic of its region.
- 2. General criteria for using plants or animals to identify wetlands of importance.
- A wetland should be considered internationally important if
- (a) it supports an appreciable assemblage of rare, vulnerable or endangered species or subspecies of plant or animal, or an appreciable number of individuals of any one or more of these species; or
- (b) it is of special value for maintaining the genetic and ecological diversity of a region because of the quality and peculiarities of its flora and fauna; or
- (c) it is of special value as the habitat of plants or animals at a critical stage of their biological cycles: or
- (d) it is of special value for its endemic plant or animal species or communities.
3. Specific criteria for using waterfowl to identify wetlands of importance.
A wetland should be considered internationally important if:
- (a) it regularly supports 20,000 waterfowl; or
- (b) it regularly supports substantial numbers of individuals from particular groups of waterfowl, indicative of wetland values, productivity or diversity; or
- (c) where data on populations are available, it regularly supports 1 per cent. of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterfowl.