§ Mr. Morley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the nature conservation objectives of the countryside stewardship scheme; and what assessment he has made of the scheme's likely contribution to the fulfilment of international obligations under the EC Council directive on the conservation of wild birds—79/409/EEC—and the Berne convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats.
§ Mr. Trippier
Details of the countryside stewardship scheme are being worked up by the Countryside Commission in conjunction with my Department, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Nature Conservancy Council. The scheme is intended to enhance and recreate valued English landscapes and wildlife habitats and to improve opportunities for people to appreciate and enjoy them. The commission is very aware of the need properly to integrate nature conservation considerations with those of landscape and access and involved the Nature Conservancy Council in the design of the scheme from its inception.
The commission hopes to be in a position to start inviting applications to the scheme by late spring this year. Initially, countryside stewardship is likely to target chalk and limestone grasslands, heathland, waterside landscapes, coastal land and possibly some upland areas.395W
It is hoped that the scheme will, among other things, assist in conserving and recreating habitats of importance to species covered by the EC Council directive on the conservation of wild birds and the Berne convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats.