To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to issue revised guidelines to drainage authorities on discharging their environmental and conservation responsibilities.
The revised guidelines, issued jointly by the Minister and my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales, are being distributed to land drainage bodies and conservation organisations today. Copies have also been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.The guidelines have been completely revised in the light of a thoroughgoing review of the experience of the past five years and I should like to put on record our gratitude to the many organisations both in the fields of conservation and of land drainage whose assistance has been of such value in the drawing up of the new guidelines. My colleagues and I are confident that the strengthened and consolidated guidance that we are publishing today will serve to enable drainage authorities to proceed with their necessary work in ways that will further the conservation interest and enhance environmental features affected by these operations. Much progress has been made in this direction in recent years and we must see to it that we build on what has been achieved. The new guidelines are central to this. I commend them to drainage and conservation organisations alike.