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Freshwater Biology

Volume 118: debated on Monday 29 June 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken to implement the commitment to environmental research, with particular reference to freshwater biology, expressed in their response to the World Conservation Strategy report, contained in the document, "Conservation and Development — The British Approach"; and if he will make a statement.

The Natural Environment Research Council has responsibility for planning, encouraging and carrying out research on the natural environment. It is funded by my Department through grant in aid from the science budget, and by other Departments and other customers for specific pieces of work. Within the resources available to it, the council has to determine the allocation to freshwater biology and other priority areas. The council's plans for research in the area of conservation are given in section 4D of its 1987 corporate plan, copies of which are in the Library. Paragraph 4.31 concerns freshwater studies, but such studies are also included in other aspects of the council's work.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what priority Her Majesty's Government attach within their overall research programme to research into freshwater biology, with particular reference to river management, pollution assessment and nature conservation; how this priority is reflected in the current and projected level of funding from Government sources for this area of research; what representations he has received about the level of funding; and if he will make a statement.

Research into freshwater biology, with other environmental issues, is among a range of priority areas funded from within the resources available. Forty letters on this matter have been received from right hon. and hon. Members and a further 50 from members of the Freshwater Biological Association, the staff of its laboratories and the general public.