HC Deb 24 October 1989 vol 158 cc405-6W
Mr. Hardy

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he proposes to take in response to the loss of wildlife habitat and the damage or destruction of sites of special scientific interest; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the guidance given in the Department's circular 27/87 "Nature Conservation" ensures that planning authorities are able to take full account of the nature conservation interest of land which is the subject of development proposals. It is the responsibility of planning authorities to consider these interests together with the requirements of other legitimate land uses in reaching their decisions. A high proportion of damage is the incidental result of third party activities. We are ready to consider, with the NCC and others, practicable action to minimise them. Damage to SSSIs from agricultural operations is now a tiny proportion of the total.