HC Deb 19 November 1986 vol 105 cc545-6
1. Mr. Patrick Thompson

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about the proposed Broads Bill.

The Minister for Environment, Countryside and Planning (Mr. William Waldegrave)

A number of right hon. and hon. Members and a number of representatives of organisations which care for the Broads have been in touch with me over recent months. Our decision to legislate has been widely welcomed in East Anglia and elsewhere. I hope that the Bill which we introduced yesterday will win general support in the House.

Mr. Thompson

I thank my hon. Friend for his reply and join those who are congratulating him and his colleagues on introducing the Bill so promptly. The Bill is welcomed by people in Norfolk and elsewhere who have a high regard for the Broads and see the Bill as a way of helping conservation measures. Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the interests of the boating community and ensure that those interests have good representation, especially on the navigation committee?

Mr. Waldegrave

My hon. Friend is right. The purpose of the Bill is to draw a proper balance between the various interests so that the area, which is of outstanding interest and beauty, is preserved for all who want to enjoy it in future.

Sir John Wells

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Norfolk Broads are a great national asset and do not belong only to the people of Norfolk? My constituents go there for holidays — as naturalists and to enjoy the boating. Is he aware that each boat brings employment to the area and £5,000 a year in spending money to the locality? Will he ensure that this is preserved, commensurate with an adequate balance of conservation?

Mr. Waldegrave

My hon. Friend is right. By giving the Norfolk Broads status equivalent to a national park we are recognising that the area is of national and international importance. I repeat that it is in the interests of everyone, boat owners included, to ensure that the Broads are conserved for the long-term future. That is the objective of the balance that we shall seek in the Bill.

Dr. David Clark

I can give the Minister the assurance that if this Bill is the Bill that he was due to introduce last July, generally it will have the support of the Opposition in ensuring that it reaches the statute book.

Mr. Waldegrave

May I be the first to congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his appointment as shadow Minister for "environmental things"—which is probably what he is called. His right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition had two applicants for the post of shadow Environment Minister and he has acted decisively by giving both of them the job. I am grateful to the hon. Member for his support. The Bill is indeed recast from Norfolk's original Bill, but it has been made a good deal shorter. However, it has exactly the same purpose.