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Nature Conservancy

Volume 529: debated on Monday 28 June 1954

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, if he will ensure that when areas are scheduled for nature conservancy purposes, both the tenant and the proprietor of the land concerned will be consulted before final action; how many cases there have been in which neither have been consulted; and in how many cases of land scheduling no visit to the site in question, prior to scheduling, has been undertaken by either a member of the Nature Conservancy or their permanent staff.

The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, 1949, already ensures that owners and occupiers are consulted before any final action is taken as regards nature reserves declared under Section 19. But there is also a statutory requirement on the Nature Conservancy, under Section 23 of the Act, to notify to the appropriate planning authority any land other than a nature reserve which in their opinion is of special interest by reason of its flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features. The Conservancy have informed local planning authorities in rsepect of 1,314 such sites in Great Britain up to 19th June, 1954.Owing to the large number of sites which had to be notified during the first three years of the Conservancy's existence and to the frequent sub-divisions among many different proprietors and tenants, there were inevitably numerous cases in which the local planning authorities had to be notified without there being previous consultation with the owners or tenants. The number of such cases cannot be given. My noble Friend has, however, impressed upon the Conservancy that in all future cases the tenants and proprietors must be consulted wherever they can be traced before further areas are notified to land planning authorities under Section 23. This, however, may not always be easy, as the Conservancy have great difficulty in tracing all the owners and occupiers and in eliciting replies to correspondence.Decisions to notify local planning authorities under Section 23 of the Act are taken in the light of available scientific evidence, published or unpublished, gathered through many channels. Where this evidence is authoritative and conclusive, a further visit by the Nature Conservancy has not been regarded as necessary. But, in all cases of insufficient evidence or of doubt, visits have been made by members or officers of the Conservancy or by reliable scientists acting on their behalf. Statistics as to the proportion of sites so visitied are not available.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, if he will lay before the House the reports on the discharge by them of their functions required to be presented by the Nature Conservancy to the Lord President of the Council under Section 24 of the National Parks Act, 1949.

Two Reports (House of Commons Papers Nos. 16 and 17) were presented to Parliament on 8th December, 1953. A further report covering the year ending 30th September next will be laid before the House in due course.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, the cost of the new premises of the Nature Conservancy in Belgrave Square; and what is the total number of staff employed by the Nature Conservancy as a whole.

The cost of purchasing the unexpired portions of the two leases for the Nature Conservancy's new premises in Belgrave Square is £27,500, which includes £1,000 for legal expenses and stamp duties. As at 21st June the number of staff employed throughout Great Britain was 108.