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House of Commons Hansard
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Nature Conservation: West Midlands
29 March 2010
Volume 508
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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps he has taken to protect wildlife in the West Midlands. [324278]

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Natural England is the lead delivery body for the Government’s strategy to conserve wildlife in England. Examples of Natural England’s action in the West Midlands include:

Increasing the total area of the most important sites for nature conservation—Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)—in the region in favourable or recovering condition; this being 20,000 ha or 89.75 per cent. of the total resource in the region.

Getting 63 per cent. of the utilisable agricultural area of the region under an agri-environment agreement through £40 million of annual investment in environmental stewardship and classic schemes, which pay land managers to manage their land in ways that benefits biodiversity, the historic environment and the landscape.

In particular through the Higher Level Stewardship scheme (HLS) bringing over 3,000 ha of existing wildlife habitats into favourable management and creating an additional 450 ha of new habitats across the region, and bringing an additional 800 ha of farmland under specific agreement to provide suitable feeding and breeding habitats for target species of farmland birds.

Ensuring that 2,816 ha (97.3 per cent.) of the region’s National Nature Reserves are in favourable or recovering condition.

Providing funding of £186,000 in 2009-10 to regional and local biodiversity partnerships in the West Midlands, and supporting the local Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB on “Wetland Vision, Lapwing Meadows” and other projects, with more than £60,000 of funding in the same year.