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longer detail to many of the cases to which the hon. Gentleman referred, but I am not sure that that would be welcome now. I shall write to him about them in more detail, as I will on birds and the situation in Scotland.

The hon. Gentleman has misunderstood the Government's position on the habitat directive. Everything that I have said today makes it abundantly clear that we take great pride in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. We believe that we have introduced a model for the preservation of wildlife and species of natural habitats. It is an example that many others could well follow. He will appreciate that we are not convinced that the mechanisms being promoted by the Commission were the most appropriate way of ensuring that our excellent record in this country would be matched by others. We are hopeful that progress will be made and we have made it clear that we welcome discussions on the subject.

I hope that I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that we have every confidence that the Nature Conservancy Council will continue, albeit in its new form, to give its high-standing and reputable advice to the Government. We are strongly committed to preserving, protecting and enhancing our natural heritage. I welcome the opportunity offered by the hon. Gentleman to put that absolutely clearly.

Question put and agreed to .

Adjourned accordingly at thirteen minutes to Three o'clock .

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