5th June 2019

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost to the Government was of cases CO1673/2018 and CO1683/2018 brought against Natural England including (a) administration costs and (b) legal expenditure; and how much of those costs the court allowed the Government to recover from (a) the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and (b) Mark Avery.

Dr Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment: The legal costs to Natural England of defending cases CO1673/2018 and CO1683/2018, and the related appeal of those cases, were £106,000. Natural England was awarded costs for successfully defending the challenge in the High Court though these costs were capped at £10,000 for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and £5,000 from Mark Avery in accordance with cost protection rules for Aarhus Convention claims.