HC Deb 31 March 1971 vol 814 cc1475-6
11. Mr. David Clark

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied that there is sufficient public access to open moorland in the Peak District National Park; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Walker

The Peak Park Planning Board propose shortly to submit to me, and to advertise, a map showing the extent of land in the national park open to public access. It would not be appropriate for me to comment at this stage on whether there is sufficient public access since I shall have to consider any representations that are made.

Mr. Clark

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply. I, too, am pleased that this matter is going well. Is he aware that there is concern in the Peak District over the fact that there are many acres of uncultivated land immediately adjacent to the Pennine Way over which the public rarely go on to the Pennine Way because of huge "Private—keep off" signs?

Mr. Walker

I am aware of those anxieties. The Commission is doing all it can to gain access for the public to national parks.

Mr. J. H. Osborn

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that members of the public who want to go through the Peak District can do so easily and quickly? Will he give consideration to the construction of a motorway through the Peak District from east to west?

Mr. Walker

Motorways through national parks are not the most popular thing but I will consider what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Will the right hon. Gentleman take this matter rather more widely? Will he approach every local authority where the same problem exists and emphasise the need to advertise the possibilities of public access?

Mr. Walker

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Denis Howell

Will the right hon. Gentleman take up with owners and occupiers of land in national parks the question of the rights of the public? There have been some unfortunate incidents. For example, instructors of the C.C.P.R. have been threatened with shotguns by irate farmers in Snowdonia. Very often, the occupiers of such land are not aware of their responsibilities to members of the public in national parks.

Mr. Walker

Yes, Sir. We are doing all we can.