HC Deb 29 March 1976 vol 908 cc877-8
9. Mr. Tom Ellis

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will consult the Countryside Commission on how the rôle of the Commission in safeguarding environmental interests in National Parks in Wales can be made more effective.

Mr. Barry Jones

Consultation between the Welsh Office and the Commission is frequent. I am satisfied that the Commission through its Welsh Committee is already playing an effective rôle.

Mr. Ellis

Does not my hon. Friend agree that environmental interests in the Snowdonia National Park have not been adequately safeguarded recently, whether the fault lies with the Countryside Commission, or the local planning authority, or the parks authority, or even with the House itself? Will he prepare and publish a short factual report showing how the tarmacadam road leading from the A5 to Ffynnon Llugwy came to be authorised, to what extent environmental interests influenced the decision, and what he proposes to do to prevent a recurrence of this unfortunate experience?

Hon. Members

Too long.

Mr. Speaker

Order. It is very unfair of hon. Members to shout "Too long". Almost every supplementary question today has been too long.

Mr. Barry Jones

My hon. Friend and I have corresponded about this matter. My hon. Friend has pursued the issue diligently. I have two things to say to him now. First, it is open to the Countryside Commission or its Welsh Committee to seek guidance on any environmental issue at any time from the Welsh Office. Secondly, he is probably aware that the terms of the letters issued by the Welsh Office in January 1970 are now under review, as requested by the Commission. When the review is complete, I shall be ready to consider whether further advice on standards of access roads to reservoirs is needed.

Mr. Gwynfor Evans

Can the Under-Secretary give one good reason why Wales should not have her own Countryside Commission equal in status to those for Scotland and for Northern Ireland? What steps do he and his right hon. and learned Friend propose to take to establish a Welsh Countryside Commission?

Mr. Barry Jones

This matter will certainly be considered in the ensuing debates on devolution, but I should like to reassure the hon. Gentleman immediately that, as matters now stand, the Welsh Office is looking after the interests of Wales.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

As there is very deep concern in my constituency about the Ffynnon Llugwy road built by the CEGB, which the hon. Member for Wrexham (Mr. Ellis) has in mind, will the Minister hold an inquiry so that the proper procedures are followed?

Mr. Barry Jones

The proper procedures were followed.

Mr. Roderick

Will the Under-Secretary of State appreciate that the best way in which the Countryside Commission can safeguard environmental interests is to have sufficient funds in order to compensate local residents for some of the inconveniences they suffer as a result of the restrictions in planning applications? Secondly, will my hon. Friend look carefully at the recommendations of the Dobry Report and see whether stop notices on planning procedures can be urgently implemented?

Mr. Barry Jones

I will look carefully into both the matters my hon. Friend has raised.