§ Sir David Steel
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to preserve heather moorlands in Scotland; and whether he will introduce a moorland management grant analogous to the financial support for forestry and sheep grazing.
§ Mr. Rifkind
The preservation of heather moorlands in Scotland is encouraged in a number of ways. The farm and conservation grant scheme provides grants for the enclosure of areas of heather moorland to protect them from livestock and muirburn, and heather regeneration and bracken control continue to be eligible for grant. Three of the four mainland environmentally sensitive area schemes contain prescriptions for the retention of existing areas of heather and in all four there is the requirement to make muirburn for good heather management in accordance with the standards set out in the joint DAFS-NCC report entitled "A Guide to Good Muirburn Practice". Heather areas can also be notified as SSSIs by the NCC if the area is of special interest by reason of any of its flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features. I am considering what further measures to preserve heather moorlands may be required.