§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are aware of the widespread apprehension about the future treatment of Buckland Woods in the Dartmoor National Park, and what steps are being taken to ensure that such treatment is in accordance with the requirement of a National Park, which should aim at safeguarding—so far as is reasonably possible—the existing character of the landscape and corresponding facilities for recreational enjoyment.]
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government and my right honourable friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government are very much aware of the situation at Buckland Woods and of the fact that widespread interest has been taken over this woodland feature in the Dartmoor National Park.
489 With regard to the second part of the noble Lord's Question, as to what steps are being taken, my right honourable friend is consulting the Forestry Commission and the National Parks Commission who are re-examining the proposals with all parties concerned. A meeting on the ground will take place about the middle of March. Representatives of the interests concerned will attend, namely, the owners, the Forestry Commission, the local planning authority—in this case the Dartmoor National Park Committee—and the National Parks Commission. The owners of this 450-acre wood have already made considerable sacrifices to meet some of the proposals of the National Parks Commission. The Forestry Commissioners have given an additional undertaking that they themselves will consult with the Minister of Housing and Local Government and the National Parks Commission upon the terms of any dedication covenant that may be entered into between them and the owner of Buckland Woods. The presence of the National Parks Commission at these discussions will, I feel sure, satisfy the noble Lord that my right honourable friend is taking fully into account the considerations he mentions in his Question.
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, I beg to thank the Minister for his reply, which is encouraging as far as it goes. May we take it that the Minister's own interest is engaged in this matter, and that every effort will be made by the Government to see that this wood is not seriously disfigured and that, if necessary, an inquiry will be held at which representations can be made by those interested in the preservation of the amenities?
My Lords, I think I made it clear in my reply that my right honourable friend is indeed interested and this meeting of all parties concerned, including the National Parks Commission representatives, should make that point very clear.