HC Deb 15 March 1995 vol 256 c898
22. Ms Ruddock

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received recently from environmental groups regarding the Environment Bill [Lords]; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins

I have received a number of representations from a range of organisations and individuals with an interest in the Environment Bill. Most of those representations have raised subjects also addressed by amendments being discussed as the Bill makes progress through another place.

Ms Ruddock

The Minister will therefore know that all the major conservation groups—with membership now amounting to some 5 million—supported the successful amendment in another place to the definition of the purposes of national parks. Notwithstanding the pressure that the Minister will come under from those promoting noisy sports, will he give an undertaking to include the promotion of quiet enjoyment in the purposes of national parks?

Mr. Atkins

I should be interested to hear how the hon. Lady defines quiet enjoyment. That point came up during the debates in another place. If the hon. Lady had read any of the debates, she would have seen that at least one Law Lord suggested that the definition as amended is rather bad law and needs to be qualified more carefully. I should be interested to know what effect the hon. Lady feels that the promotion of quiet enjoyment currently in the Bill would have on the RAC rally, which is one of the biggest sporting events in the country and which hundreds of thousands people go to watch as it passes though national parks. If the hon. Lady wants that rally to he abolished, she is going the right way about it.