HC Deb 16 December 1970 vol 808 c1338
28. Mrs. Fenner

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now review the terms of reference of the Royal Commission on the Environment; and if he will impose both a timetable and priorities upon its deliberations.

Mr. Peter Walker

No, Sir. The Government are already free to ask for the Commission's advice on urgent problems, without denying it the freedom of deciding to which aspects of pollution it should attach priority.

Mrs. Fenner

While I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer, may I ask him to note my natural scepticism about delaying tactics like the setting up of Royal Commissions? May I seek his assurance constantly to bear in mind the comment of my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Lane) at the time when this Commission was established, that what the public want is not advice, consultation or co-ordination but action?

Mr. Walker

I fully understand my hon. Friend's attitude to Royal Commissions in general. This one, however, is a perpetual Royal Commission which will be constantly reporting on various aspects of the problem.