HL Deb 21 November 1991 vol 532 cc70-1WA
Lord Gainford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What proposals there are for the designation of further Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Trumpington)

My right honourable friend the Minister announced yesterday proposals to designate 12 further Environmentally Sensitive Areas. They are in 1992:

  • —Exmoor
  • —Hampshire Avon
  • —Lake District
  • —North Dorset and South Wiltshire Downs
  • —North West Kent Coast
  • —South Western Peak;

in 1993

  • —Blackdown Hills, Devon/Somerset border
  • —Cotswold Hills
  • —Dartmoor
  • —Essex Coast
  • —Shropshire Hills
  • —Upper Thames Tributaries.

The new designations will more than treble the amount of farmland within the 10 existing ESAs in England.

Environmentally Sensitive Areas have proved a tremendous success since they were first introduced in 1987. They help farmers to conserve special habitats, landscapes and features of historic interest. Their contribution to protecting areas of national environmental importance has been acclaimed by farmers and environmentalists alike, and they have paved the way for similar schemes throughout Europe.

We are starting work immediately on six of the new areas so that they can come into operation next summer. The other six areas will open for applications the following year.

The ESA scheme has proved an excellent example of the way in which agricultural and environmental policies can operate in harmony to conserve the best features of our countryside. We have pioneered this approach in the United Kingdom and we are delighted to be able to announce this major extension of the scheme.