HC Deb 05 July 1978 vol 953 cc451-2
20. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his policy on future road development in national parks.

Mr. Horam

Our policy remains that road development in national parks should be avoided unless there is a compelling need and no reasonable alternative.

Mr. Hooley

Is my hon. Friend aware that I welcome that statement? Does he agree that it is most important that long-distance heavy traffic routes should be devised to avoid the parks altogether, and that there should be no unnecessary so-called improvements in the natural road linkage within a park?

Mr. Horam

The only changes to the Peak route that we have just been discussing will be minor improvements along the existing route. There will be no new route.

Mr. Roderick

Will the Minister maintain a flexible approach to this problem? Whereas we do not want motorways going through national parks, in my constituency the main route between North and South Wales passes through the Brecon Beacons National Park. We want improvements to that road, because traffic is no help to a national park.

Mr. Horam

The situation is different where there is an existing trunk route which is heavily used by traffic. Of course, one would consider that in the circumstances which are appropriate. Earlier I was talking about building a new route, and there one is obviously predisposed to be against it, in these sorts of circumstances.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Is my hon. Friend aware that I used to walk through the Derbyshire dales and through North Yorkshire, and that I know the beauty of the countryside? Should we not be doing something to try to open up the national parks? A roadway through them with good service stations and excellent parking facilities would encourage motorists to get out there with their families and stroll around.

Mr. Horam

I am delighted to hear of my hon. Friend's walking habits. I hope that he lives to a ripe old age to enjoy the Peak National Park. I am sure that he will.