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Nature Conservancy Council

Volume 115: debated on Tuesday 5 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what level of grant aid the Government made available in 1986–87 and 1987–88 to the Nature Conservancy Council; how many staff are employed full and part-time; and what percentage of its total expenditure is represented by the Government grant.

The Government allocated grant-in-aid to the nature Conservancy council of £32·1 million in 1986–87, and £36·5 million in 1987–88. At 1 April 1987 715 permanent full-time and 84 part-time staff were in post. Government grant will cover 97 per cent. of NCCs planned expenditure in 1987–88.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received on the activities of the Nature Conservancy Council and, in particular, on its policy towards declaring sites of special scientific interest.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the NCC has a statutory duty to notify sites which it considers to be of special scientific interest. I have received a number of representations about the operation of these provisions ranging from suggestions that the NCC should be given stronger powers of compulsion to proposals for imposing further restrictions on the NCC's existing limited powers. I am satisfied that the present balance is about the right one.