HC Deb 07 June 1972 vol 838 cc446-7
32. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to implement the proposals of the committee set up by him to assess the rôle of youth and voluntary organisations in the protection of the environment.

Mr. Speed

The report has provided valuable material for the Stockholm conference and for the continuing work of my Department. I am grateful for the suggestion for an advisory committee on pop festivals, which my right hon. Friend is setting up under Mr. Dennis Stevenson's chairmanship.

Mr. Hamilton

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the principal recommendation of the committee was that these organisations could do very little about the improvement of the environment themselves and that the best way would be for them to get Government finance to set up some kind of pressure group to pressurise the Government into doing a lot more in this matter? Are the Government prepared to do that?

Mr. Speed

We are looking at the matter. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced in a speech to the National Council of Social Service in December that we are doubling the central Government grants to voluntary bodies over the next four years. The question of pressure groups is certainly being taken seriously by the Government.

Mr. Blenkinsop

I welcome the tone of the report. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that one of the best ways of carrying out some of its recommendations would be to establish neighbourhood councils in our urban areas, as many of us have advocated during the passage of the Local Government Bill?

Mr. Speed

I would not wish to anticipate the Report stage of that Bill.

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