HC Deb 13 December 1990 vol 182 cc497-8W
Mr. Bill Walker

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now announce the budget and members of the Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lang

In view of the importance which I attach to nature conservation in Scotland, I have decided that the Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland should be launched next year with a budget of £19 million. This is over 40 per cent. of the NCC budget of £45 million for the whole of Great Britain this year. This will not only allow the existing work to continue, but will provide scope for new initiatives such as a scientific programme relevant to conservation management, delegation of decision-making to the local level, practical conservation projects and more user-friendly procedures.

The Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland represents a major Government initiative for nature conservation in Scotland. Building on the work of the existing council, we now have all the right ingredients to bring our initiative to fruition. The combination of Magnus Magnusson's dedicated and positive leadership, an experienced and expert council and a budget allowing it to embark on new tasks will give the body the best possible start.

In addition to Magnus Magnusson as chairman I have appointed the following:

  • Mr. Bruce Cowe
  • The Earl of Dalkeith
  • Professor George M. Dunnet
  • Mr. David Laird
  • Sir John Lister-Kaye
  • Councillor Duncan McPherson
  • Professor Alasdair McIntyre
  • Dr. Patricia Monaghan
  • Dr. William Mutch
  • Professor Christopher Smout
  • Professor David Sugden

My appointments to the council represent a wide variety of interests. There are scientists of international repute engaged in research on conservation issues, those with land management experience who have a vital practical role to play, and others involved with the voluntary conservation movement. I am sure that this strong team under the leadership of Magnus Magnusson will improve understanding and foster a creative relationship with those involved in the management of Scotland's natural resources.

The new agency and the Countryside Commission for Scotland, to which I have also given additional funding, will provide a sound foundation for the creation of Scottish Natural Heritage. I am particularly keen to promote the integration of the two bodies and I know that Magnus Magnusson as its chairman-designate, as well as Bruce Cowe and Bill Mutch who are members of both boards, and the other members and staff of both bodies will carry forward the merger with enthusiasm.