PART 1: THE BACKGROUND
5. Although "final" in the sense that
it brings to a close the Committee's work on this subject in the
1998-99 Session, this Report cannot pretend to be a complete survey
of what is by any standard a complex process, involving not only
the Community collectively but also the Member States individually,
with progress varying from state to state. This is apparent from
the wide range of evidence received during the inquiry, a full
analysis of which is outside the scope of the Report.
6. Promoting biodiversity has major implications
for Community policies outside the specific field of nature conservation
and protection. One of the principal aims of the Report, therefore,
is to highlight the actions that require attention in the near
future, if the EU and its Member States are to remain on course
for meeting their obligations under the 1992 Convention effectively.
FOLLOW-UP ACTION BY THE COMMITTEE
7. Measures which need to be taken urgently by
the UK have already been the subject of recommendations in our
Interim Report. We share the hope of virtually all our witnesses
that these measures will have found a place in the Government's
legislative programme by the time this Report is published.
The further recommendations which we now make are complementary
to, but not directly dependent on, amendments to UK wildlife and
8. During the latter
stages of the inquiry, the significance of the agri-environment
and other measures under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
and the Agenda 2000 proposals for reform became increasingly apparent
(see paragraphs 1524). To have gone into these in detail
(and with the probable need to take more evidence) would not have
been practicable within the time and expertise available to the
Committee. They have in any case already been the subject of previous
Reports. The Report
therefore may be seen to prepare the ground for continuing investigation,
possibly in the context of environmental integration in the light
of the forthcoming Helsinki European Council.
9. The Report is the outcome of continued work
by SubCommittee C (Environment, Public Health and Consumer
Protection) on an inquiry launched in March 1999. Members of the
SubCommittee who were involved in the inquiry are listed
in Appendix 1. Most of the evidence received was published
with the Interim Report; additional evidence and assistance was
provided by the organisations and individuals listed in Appendix 2.
A note of certain matters requiring correction or clarification
in the Interim Report is in Appendix 3.
10. The Committee wishes again to record its
indebtedness to its specialist adviser (Mr Stuart Housden) and
to the many witnesses and others who have helped with the inquiry.
These include all of those who hosted informal visits by members
of the SubCommittee to Denmark, the Republic of Ireland
and the European Commission (DG Environment), as well as the formal
visit to Paris to take evidence from the European Topic Centre
on Nature Conservation. Details of those visits, and notes on
the information obtained, are in Appendices 5-7. A glossary
of acronyms and technical terms is in Appendix 9.
12 The Queen's Speech of 17 November 1999 announced
the proposed introduction of a Bill "to give people greater
access to the countryside and to improve protection for wildlife". Back
Council Regulation (EEC) No 2078/92. Back
For example, ECC 18th Report, 199798. CAP Reform in Agenda
2000-The Transition to Competition: Measures for Rural Development
and the Rural Environment, HL 84; and 8th Report, 199899,
A Reformed CAP? The Outcome of Agenda 2000, HL 61. Back