SIR NICHOLAS SOAMES’S QUESTION ON UPLANDS AND MOORLANDS

28th March 2019

Sir Nicholas Soames’s Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP, on the importance of the uplands and moorlands. House of Commons, Thursday, 28th March, 2019

T1. If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities. [910090]

I am very keen to see rare breeds survive, which is why I suspect the leader—ex-leader, rather—of the Liberal Democrats, the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron), is bobbing.

More to the point, tomorrow is the last day on which the permanent secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will be in her post. Clare Moriarty is an outstanding public servant. She is going on to become permanent secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union. On behalf of my ministerial team, and I think Members across the House, I ask us all to record our thanks to an outstanding public servant for everything she has done to ensure that the environment, rural affairs and food have been at the heart of Government policy making and have been carried forward with the high standards of professionalism that we expect of a civil servant.

I thank my right hon. Friend and join him in paying tribute to an obviously very distinguished civil servant. One has to wonder what she has done to earn such a poisoned chalice.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that of all the landscapes in Britain, one of the most greatly cherished are the uplands? Does he agree that, inevitably, there is a good deal of concern and anxiety at this time as the Brexit policies unfold? Will he agree to receive a delegation from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Moorland Association to discuss with him some of the more pressing issues that are causing serious concern in an already hard-pressed community?

My right hon. Friend makes a very important point. Our uplands are one of our environmental glories, and it is critical that those who live and work in the uplands and those who, for a variety of reasons, feel that their way of life and some of the economic activities that sustain communities in the uplands might be under threat, have the reassurance of knowing that this Government are on their side. I would be delighted to convene such a meeting.

 
Vol. 657
No. 279
Col. 540-541