To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he has taken to meet the United Kingdom's obligation to protect those areas of montane habitat which meet the criteria for designation under the Ramsar convention or the European Community directive of the conservation of wild birds; and if he will list those montane sites which have yet to be so designated.
All the potential and possible sites which meet the criteria for designation under the Ramsar convention or the European Community directive for the conservation of wild birds have been identified by the Nature Conservancy Council and are listed in tables 3.1 and 3.2 of "Protecting internationally important bird sites." Scottish Development Department circular 1/88 advised local authorities to treat such sites as if they had already been designated in considering any planning application. A copy of the circular has been placed in the Library. All have been or will be notified as sites of special scientific interest. The Nature Conservancy Council prepares a detailed submission for each site in recommending that my right hon. and learned Friend should designate either as a special protection area under the wild birds directive or as a Ramsar site.The montane sites which have been proposed but not yet designated as special protection areas are the Cairngorms, Caenlochan, Drumochter hills, North Harris mountains, Affric-Cannich hills and glens and the North Arran mountains.