§ Mr. Kirkwood
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in theOfficial Report the Government's response to the draft European Community directive on the protection of semi-natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora; whether he will seek to amend the draft directive (a) to provide funding to encourage individuals to adopt management and development practices and (b) to tackle the devastation and destruction of habitats outside the envisaged network of special protection areas; and whether he will seek to allow non-governmental organisations to attend meetings under the directive as observers.
§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
We have made clear on several occasions that we, in common with all other member states, regard the present draft text as deeply flawed. The House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities reached a similar conclusion in its scrutiny report published in August.
We are keen to see progress towards a worthwhile Community measure in the field of nature conservation. It is for the French Presidency to decide how to take things forward, and I understand that discussions are taking place with a view to breaking the deadlock. Matters such as funding, protection of habitats outside special protection areas, and observer status for non-governmental organisations can be expected to feature in these deliberations. We shall continue to contribute constructively to the discussions on all aspects of the dossier.