HC Deb 07 March 1966 vol 725 c1690
3. Sir G. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources whether he is aware that nature reserves, nature rides and nature walks can be made out of abandoned railway tracks after the rails and sleepers have been removed; and if he will seek power to encourage the acquisition of tracks for such purposes.

Mr. Skeffington

My right hon. Friend is aware that in some cases abandoned railway tracks are well suited to the purposes mentioned, but is satisfied that adequate powers already exist under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, 1949, the Local Government Act, 1933, and the Open Spaces Act, 1906. The Nature Conservancy and local authorities have power to make agreements for the use of any land as nature reserves and to acquire the land if necessary. Local authorities have power to create rights of way on foot or on horseback without acquiring the land.

Sir G. de Freitas

As so many public bodies have these powers, may I ask the Minister to do everything he can to encourage them to use them?

Mr. Skeffington

This will be one of the ways in which we think the Countryside Commission can take a part in stimulating activity.