§ Sir Cranley Onslow
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consultations her Department has had with interested parties about the inclusion of riverside buffer zones in the set-aside scheme; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Jack
The management conditions for set-aside under the arable area payments scheme were the subject of a consultation document issued in March 1993. The 1993–94 arable area payments guide advises that set-aside placed next to sites such as rivers and streams can act as a buffer to protect those areas and help reduce run-off of fertilisers and pesticides.
Another consultation document issued in March 1993 contained proposals to create or improve a range of wildlife habitats by taking them out of production for 20 years. Water fringes are one of the targeted habitats, with the objective of protecting the water and its flora and fauna, as well as creating a wildlife habitat on the waterside banks. Our decision to go ahead with this new habitat scheme was announced on 10 August 1993 and the scheme will open for applications in 1994.