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Countryside (Conservation)

Volume 981: debated on Tuesday 18 March 1980

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his attitude towards the recommendation of the Strutt report of May 1978 that landscape and wildlife criteria be built into the relevant grant-aided schemes as conditions of eligibility and that provision be sought for paying grants to farmers and landowners for certain conservation works.

In considering applications for grant aid my Department has regard to the desirability of conserving the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside as required by section 11 of the Countryside Act 1968.We are able, for this purpose, and in the context of an agricultural investment, to grant-aid expenditure intended for amenity purposes to the extent that the total approved expenditure is justifiable by the agricultural purpose for which it is intended. We are not able to assist expenditure incurred solely for amenity purposes.Responsibility for the payment of conservation grants as such rests with the countryside agencies which are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.