HC Deb 09 April 1968 vol 762 cc1282-3
Mr. Skeffington

I beg to move Amendment No. 31, in page 14, line 38, leave out subsection (6).

Mr. Speaker

We can take with this Amendment the following Amendments: No. 32, in line 41, leave out 'without subsection (6)', and No. 30, in line 38, leave out subsection (6) and insert— (6) Where land subject to an agreement under this section is also subject to an access agreement or order (whether confirmed or made by the Minister before or after the coming into operation of this section) and the Council considers it expedient that further restriction of public access should be imposed in the interest of conserving the flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features, the Minister may, on application by the Council and after consulting the local planning authority, vary the access order or agreement so as to impose as respects the land any such restrictions or further restrictions authorised by section 60(3) of the Act of 1949 as appears to him to be appropriate, or he may exclude the land or any part thereof from the land subject to the access agreement or order or may exclude parts of the land and impose restrictions on other parts thereof.

Mr. Skeffington

The effect of these Amendments, which I know will be welcomed by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. Carol Johnson) and others, is that access agreements or orders will be able to be made in respect of areas subject to agreement under Clause 11. This deals with areas of special scientific interest. After my hon. Friend withdrew his Amendment in Committee, further consideration was given to this matter in which there is a great deal of public interest. The National Environment Research Council came to the view that it would be right to agree to this Amendment although the Council had never envisaged it as applying to large areas. However, there was the threat as the Clause stood that large areas might have been excluded from the making of access orders. We felt that that was wrong. I am sure that the House will be glad to have this Amendment made.

Mr. Carol Johnson

This deals with a very important matter which was the subject of a long discussion in Committee and a debate on an Amendment in identical terms. I am pleased that the arguments I put forward have prevailed and that the Minister has accepted them. I warmly welcome and support the Amendment.

Mr. Jopling

As this was originally proposed by the Lake District Planning Council, I add my thanks to the Government for accepting the proposal.

Since the sittings of the Committee, I have been told that areas of special scientific interest in the Lake District comprise 28,000 acres which are covered by these arrangements, and the proposed Skiddaw Forest would add another 24,500 acres. That is a very large area. The threat has now been removed and I am sure we are all grateful.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: No. 32, in line 41, leave out 'without subsection (6)'.—[Mr. Skeffington.]

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