§ Mr. Randall
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many sites of special scientific interest there were in Northern Ireland on 31 March; and what was their total area in hectares. 
§ Mr. Paul Murphy
Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Environment and Heritage Service under their acting chief executive, Mr. J. R. Lamont. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from J. R. Lamont to Mr. John Randall, dated 17 June 1999:As Acting Chief Executive of the Environment and Heritage Service, I am responsible for operational aspects of protection of the natural heritage on behalf of the Department of Environment for Northern Ireland. I am responding to the Parliamentary Question you put down on 23 June 1999 about the number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Northern Ireland as at 31 March and their total hectarage.In Northern Ireland SSSIs are known as Areas of Special Scientific Interest and at 31 March 1999 there were 159 covering a total area of 83441 hectares.I trust you will find this helpful.