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Halvergate Marshes

Volume 31: debated on Friday 12 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations he has had concerning the call for a public inquiry to settle the dispute concerning the environmental protection of the Halvergate Marshes in the face of the possible lowering of the water level by drainage grants to the landowners concerned; and if he will make a statement.

Various meetings were held prior to the decisions announced earlier this week. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has approved the internal drainage board's application in respect of the Acle/Tunstall scheme, but has rejected the application for the Seven Mile/Berney area where the conservation interest is greatest. The Board has, however, been informed that the Minister would be prepared to approve a revised application to install a smaller capacity pump at Seven Mile provided that this does not lead to any lowering of the water level in that area. This is the first use of powers under section 48 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which require the Minister to further the interests of conservation in land drainage schemes.