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Biodiversity

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department plans to take to monitor the extent to which public bodies which report to him comply, from October, with their duty to conserve biodiversity in exercising their functions, under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. (74399)

Under Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, all public bodies have a duty to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity in the exercising of their functions. There is no statutory obligation on Departments to monitor the extent to which public bodies comply with this duty. However, we understand that DEFRA is working with a wide range of partners to develop guidance for public bodies to support the implementation of this duty and will involve all relevant Departments in the development of guidance.

DFID has no public bodies which report to it which are likely to be affected by the Act.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which Minister in his Department is responsible for monitoring his Department's compliance with its duty under section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to have regard to the purpose of conserving biological diversity in carrying out its functions; and if he will make a statement. (73941)

Under Section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, Ministers and Government Departments have a duty to have regard to the purpose of conserving biological diversity. This has been replaced by a similar provision under Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act which comes into effect on the 1 October 2006. There is no statutory duty to monitor compliance with this duty. However, DFID is committed to the biodiversity targets set out in the Framework for Sustainable Development and has taken a number of measures to benefit biodiversity (this target only applies to our East Kilbride office). These include:

An audit of the site by the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT)

Biodiversity Delivery and Action plans (available on our external website).

The action plan is based on recommendations by the SWT in their audit report.

Environmental clauses form part of the facilities management contract which includes grounds maintenance.