HL Deb 02 February 1995 vol 560 cc1656-702

House again in Committee on Clause 59.

Viscount Addison

moved Amendment No. 257: Page 65, line 27, leave out ("if it appears that there is a") and insert ("where the relevant National Park Authority deems there to be an irreconcilable"). The noble Viscount said: Subsection (2) of Clause 59 is intended to implement what is known as the "Sandford principle". The Sandford Report of 1974 stated that where there is irreconcilable conflict between the two national park purposes of conservation and recreation the former should be given priority over the latter. In 1991 the National Parks Review Panel endorsed that recommendation, saying that it should be reflected in legislation.

As drafted, subsection 59(2) is not sufficiently precise to fulfil the recommendations of the Sandford and Edwards Reports. The amendment attempts to address two of the drafting problems.

The clause as drafted states that if it appears that there is a conflict between the two purposes conservation shall be given greater weight. That is too vague and begs the question, if it appears to whom? Therefore, the first part of the amendment attempts to clarify the position by giving the role of arbiter to the national park authority as the most appropriate executive body.

The clause also omits the concept of irreconcilability. That appears to be a fundamental change of policy from the current position and is not what Sandford or Edwards intended.

Much concern was expressed at Second Reading that every incentive should be given to explore all means of reconciling conflict before having to invoke the principle. That could be through careful planning of recreational facilities and providing adequate resources for management, as Edwards recommended. The amendment therefore includes the idea of irreconcilable conflict to ensure that this is a last resort which does not replace reconciliation by other means first. Government guidance is likely to include some clarification of what is intended in the clause. However, including in the guidance the concept of reconciliation through management would not be consistent with the clause as drafted. The present drafting of the clause changes the balance of policy and there is a danger that one test could exist in primary legislation and another in the guidance. Therefore, the legislation must include the idea of irreconcilability to provide the right policy context for the guidance. I beg to move.

Earl Peel

While I fully understand the principles behind the amendment, I believe that, as it is drafted, it would undermine what has become known as the "Sandford principle" —namely that conservation should take precedence when there is a conflict.

What concerns me particularly is the fact that when there is doubt about the interests of conservation being undermined it must be right that we should adopt the precautionary approach. If the amendment were accepted I believe that that would be lost, because the judgment would lie solely with the park authorities. That is too subjective.

I also question how a decision could be challenged. I can foresee a situation, for example, where English Nature may see conflict between visitor pressure and its duties to ensure the well-being of special areas of conservation under the new EU habitats directive. It is possible that the parks could come forward with a formula which they believe would reconcile the problem and could proceed with it. If that happened, the parks could be in direct conflict not only with the statutory obligations imposed upon English Nature but also with the obligations of the Government themselves under the habitats directive. Therefore, I believe that other interests and bodies should have a say. The decision should not rest solely with the parks as arbitrators in the matter, because too much is at stake.

I believe that what the Government have set out in the Bill is sufficient and right. For those reasons, I am worried by the amendment.

Lord Greenway

I wish to speak to Amendment No. 258, in my name, which is grouped with the noble Viscount's amendment.

As we all know, the "Sandford principle" has been accepted as a reasonable approach to the management of national parks and equivalent areas. It has been generally accepted by the recreational interests since it becomes relevant only when there is an acute conflict.

As the noble Viscount who moved the initial amendment said, subsection (2) appears in many ways to take the "Sandford principle" several stages further than the committee could ever have thought necessary or desirable. It provides that, if it appears that there is a conflict between the national park purposes, the authority shall attach primacy to the conservation and enhancement of natural beauty. In other words, the Bill does not require the authority to seek to resolve conflict, however minor; it simply requires the authority to rule in favour of the first purpose at the first allegation of any conflict.

I believe that that is a distortion of the purposes for which the national parks exist. I urge that consideration be given to modifying the clause. I do not mind how that is done—whether it is through acceptance of my amendment, the amendment in the name of the noble Viscount or that of the noble Lord, Lord Howell. However, I believe that we should require that the relevant authorities first seek all reasonable means of reconciling conflict, as I believe was clearly intended by the Sandford Committee, before being required to judge in favour of the first purpose. I support the amendment.

Baroness Nicol

I may have misunderstood the thrust of the noble Earl's objection to the amendment, but it seemed to me that he said the opposite of what he should have said.

As presently drafted, the clause seems to imply that the best solution in a honeypot situation would be to ban visitors from sensitive areas. However, our amendment—Amendment No. 257—suggests that that would not be in the best interests of the people who want to visit the parks. We would soon lose the support of the public if we did that. It seems to me, therefore, that it is important that the clause makes it quite clear that any conflict which is to be dealt with must be irreconcilable. The words: if it appears that there is a conflict", are much too vague. That is why we suggest that the clause should be strengthened.

In the case of honeypot sites there are many options for resolving conflicts. The national park authorities are experts in that. They know exactly what they are doing and have had plenty of experience. The amendment provides a two-phased system of protection. I support the amendment.

Lord Norrie

Because 100 million visits are made to national parks every year it is inevitable that some of the recreational activities which go on in the parks may damage the fabric of the parks themselves. Whereas the earlier amendment to introduce the idea of quiet enjoyment into national park purposes attempted to address the problem where one enjoyment comes into conflict with another, this clause addresses the problem where recreation itself comes into conflict with conservation.

Clarification in the clause that greater weight should be given to conservation where the conflict is "irreconcilable" is most important. National park authorities, as the practitioners on the ground, are most experienced in trying to resolve various forms of conflict and must be enabled to explore every route before resorting to invoking the principle that conservation has greater weight. For example, in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, outdoor activity centres, the National Trust and the National Park Authority have signed up to an "outdoor charter" to pre-empt the conflicts occurring. Problems potentially include disturbance to birds from climbing, soil erosion from mountain biking, and so on. It is that kind of management approach involving the various interest groups in national parks that ensures a better level of co-operation and, in the long run, provides the greatest potential for protecting the park. That is precisely the kind of management approach that the draft guidance issued by the Government recommends as part of the exhaustive means of reconciling conflict to be used before applying that principle. The draft guidance also states that the Sandford principle has been policy for over 20 years—that has already been stated—and is now, to quote the guidance, "enshrined" in Clause 59 of the Bill.

However, it is clear from the other speakers, including my noble friend Lord Addison and the noble Baroness, Lady Nicol, that the Sandford principle is not enshrined in Clause 59. The guidance does not follow on logically from Clause 59 as drafted. Amendment No. 257 would fulfil the intention that Clause 59 was equivalent to the Sandford principle and the guidance would therefore follow on consistently from Clause 59, amended in this way.

Earl Peel

Perhaps I may respond to the noble Baroness, Lady Nicol. I am very much in favour of applying the Sandford principle. What concerns me about the amendment is that the national park authority would be judge and jury. It is essential that other interested parties should be allowed to voice their opinion. If that were the case, then the national parks would not be put in such a position. They would have to consult more if there were conflict between conservation interests and, say, visitor pressure. If it is left entirely to the parks, then a great deal of expertise will be by-passed which could be detrimental to the conservation wellbeing of the national parks. That is simply the point that I sought to make.

Lord Williams of Elvel

It is clear that there is a problem which has to be addressed. My noble friend Lord Howell is not able to move his amendments this evening. For the convenience of the Committee, perhaps I may make it clear that I speak to Amendments Nos. 257, 257A, 258 and 258ZZA. My noble friend Lord Howell is not able to attend partly because he attended the 80th birthday dinner of Sir Stanley Matthews last night; and although it is not necessarily cause and effect, he is not able to be with us this evening.

There is a difficulty which the amendment addresses. I hope that the Government will take account of the difficulty. My noble friend's amendments attempt to resolve the difficulty. I am not fully in support of Amendment No. 258ZZA; nevertheless, he wished me at least to speak to it and to apologise to the Committee that he was unable to be here; so that is what I do.

If there is a conflict between purposes, clearly there has to be some mechanism by which it is resolved. That is the purpose of the amendment. I look forward to hearing what the noble Viscount will say.

8.15 p.m.

Viscount Ullswater

I understand the problem that the amendments seek to address in their various ways. I have considerable sympathy with the intention underlying them. It has been our long-standing policy to accept the Sandford principle that in those rare cases where there are irreconcilable conflicts between the first and second national park purposes the first purpose takes priority. We now propose that that should be enshrined in legislation.

It is, however, also my firm view that every opportunity should be taken for negotiation and mediation before the Sandford principle is applied. As the draft circular makes clear, we expect the number of instances where the principle bites to be kept to a minimum and that all reasonable steps will be taken to reconcile the different viewpoints. We believe that careful planning and positive management, as my noble friend Lord Addison said, can often facilitate greater use of the parks, which respects their special qualities and which reduces the potential conflicts. Nevertheless, we accept that the parks' twin purposes may occasionally come into conflict despite every effort being made to reconcile them. In those exceptional cases where reconciliation proves impossible, the conservation of the parks' special qualities must take precedence. This principle, now enshrined in Section 59 has been policy for over 20 years, and we believe that it continues to stand the parks in good stead. We expect this principle to apply to all those relevant authorities who may need to consider park purposes in their activities.

I do not believe the amendments will help this process, although I understand and sympathise with the intention that they do so. In particular, I fear they may encourage very lengthy and long drawn out discussions so that the relevant bodies can, if they should be required to do so, "prove" that negotiations have truly broken down and reached a point where the different viewpoints can never be reconciled.

Having said that, I ask my noble friend to withdraw the amendment.

Viscount Addison

The clause as printed changes the Sandford principle and therefore the need remains for more precision as to what is meant. Instead of "irreconcilable" perhaps I may suggest the words "conflict that cannot be reconciled through management".

However, in view of my noble friend's helpful comments, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 257A not moved.]

Lord Greenway

had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 258: Page 65, line 28, leave out ("a") and insert ("an irreconcilable"). The noble Lord said: I go along with what the noble Viscount said. Perhaps we can consider the issue again. However, I believe that the clause as drafted leaves something to be desired.

[Amendment No. 258 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 258ZZA not moved.]

Viscount Ullswater

moved Amendment No. 258ZA: Page 66, line 9, after second ("council") insert ("district council"). The noble Viscount said: This is of a minor and technical nature. The purpose of the amendment is to add a reference to district councils in Wales in order to complete the definition of local authority in relation to Wales. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Viscount Ullswater

moved Amendment No. 258ZB: Page 66, line 13, after ("Park") insert ("reconstituted"). The noble Viscount said: In moving Amendment No. 258ZB, I speak also to Amendments Nos. 258B to 258F, 262A, 362A, 362B, 366A, 366B, 397A, 397B, 399E, 399F and 403A. The amendments are all of a minor and technical nature. The purpose of Amendments Nos. 258E and 258F is to delete the references to the 1949 Act national park purposes elsewhere in legislation and insert the revised park purposes provided for in Clause 58 of the Bill.

Another group of amendments, Amendments Nos. 362A, 362B, 366A and 366B, ensures that the term "National Park authority" in legislation covers both the existing and the new national park authorities to be established under Clause 60. Amendments Nos. 258B, 258C and 258D make clear the fact that the appointment of a local authority appointed member of a national park authority may be terminated in order to maintain the political balance of the appointing authority in accordance with Sections 15 to 17 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

Amendment No. 262A is a point of clarification which makes explicit that the Broads Authority is the relevant authority as respects land within the Broads for the purposes of Section 41 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Amendments Nos. 258ZB, 397A, 397B, 399E, 399F and 403A are miscellaneous and deal with various matters such as insertions and repeals which were inadvertently omitted from the Bill when it was first printed. I beg to move.

Lord Elis-Thomas

I wish to declare my complete support for all the amendments and also to take advantage of the opportunity to ask the Minister when he proposes, or whether the Government propose, to allow for further amendment on the conversion from shadow boards to shadow national park authorities in Wales without a change of legal status. The Minister is aware that we are in a different situation in Wales. Under other legislation the existing structure for local government is already in place. I should like an assurance at some stage of the Bill that the intention is that an amendment will be proposed to the Bill to allow the conversion to take place without a change of legal status and to allow preparatory work in respect of the establishment of the boards to count as if it were carried out in preparation for the national park authorities themselves.

Viscount Ullswater

I am advised that an amendment will be produced at Report stage.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 59, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 60 [Establishment of National Park authorities]:

Lord Williams of Elvel

moved Amendment No. 258ZC: Page 67, line 12, at end insert: ("() In respect of any area with special characteristics similar but not identical to those set out in section 5(2) of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, the Secretary of State may, on the advice of the Countryside Commission and the Countryside Council of Wales, and with the agreement of every local authority for that area and of any other persons appearing with him to be interested, by Order establish a special authority, to which the provisions of this Part and Schedules 7 to 10 to this Act shall apply with such variations as may be agreed by those authorities."). The noble Lord said: I recognise that the text of the amendment may be defective. In the fourth line the word "and" should probably read "or". I am not speaking particularly to the text of the amendment but to it in principle, and the amendment is probing rather than definitive.

The Committee will be aware that there are certain areas of England and Wales, not least the New Forest, which do not easily fall into national parks under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act by definition. All kinds of problems are involved and my amendment is an attempt to offer the Government an opportunity to extend the legislation on national parks in a fairly interesting way; that is, in the sense that if the New Forest cannot become a national park for various reasons, then there is a possibility through the mechanism in my amendment that the New Forest and other areas might be designated by the appropriate mechanism described in the amendment as something similar to a national park without the problems involved in being a national park. For example, in the New Forest that has caused a great many problems, as it has with the Broads in Norfolk. As I understand it, we have not yet found a way round the problems of how to designate an area like the New Forest as a national park. The amendment is an attempt—I accept that it is only an attempt—to try to offer the Government a way of doing that. I hope that the noble Viscount will take it in that spirit and give the amendment a favourable wind. I beg to move.

Lord Norrie

I support the amendment and am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Williams, for providing an opportunity for us to air the issue. It was most disappointing when, after a wide consultation in which there was overwhelming support for national park equivalent status for the New Forest, the Government did not fulfil their commitments. Affording the area such status would bring many benefits, including national funding for the conservation and enjoyment of the forest.

The National Parks Review Panel favoured enabling the future designation of new members of the national park family where areas were considered as possessing the qualities and characteristics which made them worthy of designation. The Government's 1990 White Paper, This Common Inheritance, stated that they would consider, designating new national parks in suitable areas where landscape conservation and recreation opportunities can be combined, either under the 1949 Act, or by creating further tailor-made bodies like the Broads Authority". The amendment would enable the Government to fulfil that commitment.

Baroness Nicol

The National Parks Review Panel put forward a strong case for giving the New Forest equivalent national park status. I believe it realised that the forest could not fit into the normal pattern of national parks. However, I remind the Committee that the Broads Authority, which had its own tailor-made Act to make it into roughly an equivalent to a national park, has been very successful in protecting the Broads, while promoting enjoyment, including navigation rights.

The New Forest would also require a tailor-made body because it has very complicated management arrangements. I hope that the Government will not be put off by that. It was disappointing that when they published their plan for the New Forest last year no mention was made of giving it the status which I believe is necessary. I remind the Committee that so far as I am aware there is no national park in southern England at all except in Devon.

Viscount Ullswater

I do not believe that the amendment is necessary. There is already a procedure set out in legislation for designating areas which meet the criteria for special status and protection and putting in place the necessary administrative arrangements for the management of those areas.

I understand what the noble Lord, Lord Williams, is trying to do in his amendment by having a mechanism to approve areas or set aside areas which would not be designated as national parks. A procedure exists which has resulted in 10 per cent. of the area of England and Wales being designated as national parks with special administrative arrangements to ensure their care and protection. The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 sets out the procedures to be followed for designating those areas. It gives responsibility to the Countryside Commission and the Countryside Council for Wales for preparing orders designating areas as national parks which are then put to the Secretary of State for confirmation. Before placing an order before the Secretary of State, the Countryside Commission or the Countryside Council for Wales carries out an extensive consultation exercise through which the views of all the local authorities with land in the area proposed for designation are sought, as well as the views of any other persons and organisations which have an interest. Confirmation by the Secretary of State brings with it the appropriate administrative arrangements which we are discussing today.

As far as the New Forest is concerned, our policy statement issued in July 1994 made it clear that the New Forest should be subject to the same planning policies as the national parks. We took the view that it was not necessary to give statutory status to the New Forest Committee, as adequate mechanisms were in place for the management of the area.

I am not persuaded of the benefits of Amendment 258ZC, nor indeed do I think it would be workable, since it would require the agreement of everybody who had an interest in the matter before the procedures for an order establishing an authority could be put in train. Even for the national parks, which we all agree are special areas, that might be a little difficult.

With reference to the final words of the proposed new provision, I cannot forbear to point out that they sit ill with the noble Lord's express concern about Henry VIII clauses appearing elsewhere in the Bill. Variations of an Act by means of formal agreement—

8.30 p.m.

Lord Williams of Elvel

Will the noble Viscount now say specifically why the Government do not intend to designate the New Forest as a national park? I understood (and I believe that my understanding is right) that the Government have all sorts of reasons—which the noble Viscount tried, slightly ineffectually, to explain—why it cannot be a national park. All the instruments are in place, but the noble Viscount says that my amendment is irrelevant. If the procedures are in place, will the Government now designate the New Forest as a national park—and if not, why not?

Viscount Ullswater

I have indicated what is the Government's view about the New Forest. I also indicated the arrangements that are available for the Countryside Commission to recommend other areas for new national parks. We consider that to be sufficient for the purpose, and I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Williams of Elvel

I am very disappointed by the noble Viscount's reply. I always understood that there was some arcane reason why the New Forest should not be designated as a national park. Now the noble Viscount tells me that there is no reason at all, and that it is simply a question of going through the normal procedures. Why then have the Government not met their commitment to designate the New Forest as a national park? If there is a procedural problem, then my amendment is in order and is relevant. There may well be other cases like this. If the noble Viscount is saying that my amendment is superfluous and unnecessary because the procedures are already there, then I put my question again to the noble Viscount: why do the Government not designate the New Forest as a national park?

Viscount Ullswater

At the risk of boring the Committee, I shall repeat what I said. Our policy statement issued in July 1994 made it clear that the New Forest should be subject to the same planning policies as the national parks. We took the view that it was not necessary to give statutory status to the New Forest Committee as adequate mechanisms were in place for the management of the area.

Lord Williams of Elvel

I see that I shall not get any further with this point. We shall have to return to it at a later stage. I do not understand the noble Viscount's argument. Either the New Forest is to be a national park or it is not to be a national park. We will certainly look at what the noble Viscount has said, for what it is worth, and perhaps return to the matter at a later stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Whether Clause 60 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Williams of Elvel

The Committee will be aware that the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee of this House has reported on this Bill. In paragraph 9 on page 2 of that report, the committee draws attention to Clauses 60 and 63, and indeed to Clause 70. We are dealing here with Clause 60. The Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee remarks: The House may, however"— having considered the powers under Clause 60— wish to consider whether the affirmative procedure would be more appropriate in these cases because the scope of the power is not clearly defined in the bill or explained in the memorandum". Perhaps I should explain to the Committee that the memorandum was that which was produced by the Department of the Environment to that committee. My purpose in putting down notice of my intention to oppose the Motion that Clause 60 stand part is simply to elicit from the Government their response to that committee's report.

Viscount Ullswater

The establishment of independent national park authorities was the principal recommendation of the National Parks Review Panel, and one which we accepted wholeheartedly in our 1992 policy statement on the future of the national parks. When, in the last Session, my noble friend Lord Norrie introduced his Bill to establish independent national park authorities, it received overwhelming support from both sides of this House. Independent status will have a number of advantages for the national park authorities, including a greater clarity of vision and self-confidence, a higher profile, freedom to manage their own affairs and a more undivided commitment to national park objectives.

We consider that to enable the Secretary of State to provide for the establishment of national park authorities by order is the most practicable, if not the only practicable, way of proceeding. It is unlikely that all the national park authorities for the existing national parks will be established at exactly the same time. The timing is likely to be influenced by the timing of any changes in the local government structure affecting any park under Part II of the Local Government Act 1994 or under the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994.

The circumstances of each park, and of its existing planning board or committee, will need individual consideration to identify the provisions required in connection with the winding up of the existing body. Thus we believe that, in order to facilitate a smooth transition from existing to new authorities, powers to make incidental, supplemental, consequential and transitional provision are essential.

The provisions in Clause 60 will have effect only within or for the purposes of national parks, and are very narrowly prescribed. The powers which Clause 70 provides for the making of orders under Clause 60, may only be used for incidental, supplemental, consequential and transitional purposes in connection with the primary power being used. That limitation is reiterated in the case of subsection (4) of Clause 70, which enables the making of Henry VIII provisions, as the committee pointed out in relation to the National Parks Bill introduced by my noble friend Lord Norrie in the last Session.

"Supplemental" is used in the sense indicated by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate when the House considered the committee's comments on what was originally Clause 52 of the Local Government (Wales) Bill (debated on 28th February 1994 and reported at cols. 892 to 895). That is to say, the powers contained in Clause 52 could be used only for matters arising in consequence of local government reorganisation or, in this instance, primarily the establishment of national park authorities under Clause 60 and the winding up of the existing boards and committees.

As has also been pointed out, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments will be able to exercise its usual jurisdiction to question vires, on that or any other point. I therefore ask that the noble Lord withdraw his opposition to this clause.

Lord Williams of Elvel

If Clause 60, as reported on by the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee is defective in parliamentary terms, in the sense that the House may wish to consider whether the affirmative procedure would be more appropriate in these cases because the scope of the power is not clearly defined in the Bill nor explained in the memorandum—and I believe that that is the case—would the Government accept that the affirmative procedure on orders under Clause 60 is the correct one? If the Government say, "Well, designation of national parks is subject to negative procedure", why—with reference to our previous debate—do not they simply issue an order now saying that the New Forest is a national park?

Viscount Ullswater

I tried to explain that Clause 70, which talks about Clause 60 (in Parts II and III) is only a very narrow definition for the supplemental provisions. I was trying to argue that in our opinion they were suitable for the negative procedure.

Clause 60 agreed to.

Lord Annalymoved Amendment No. 258ZD:

After Clause 60, insert the following new clause: ("Exclusion for defence use Land within any National Park which forms part of a Ministry of Defence landholding and is used for training for the defence of the realm shall not form part of the area of a National Park for the purposes of this or any other enactment.").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I speak both as a former soldier and a long-standing visitor to national parks. My noble friend Lord Elliott of Morpeth, who put his name to the amendment, regrets that he is unable to be present tonight to speak in support of the amendment.

The MoD land holdings collectively represent 3 per cent. of the total acreage of national parks and in only three out of the nine national parks where the MoD owns land for training is the acreage of any significant proportion: that is in Northumberland, where it is 22 per cent.; Dartmoor, where it is 15 per cent.; and the Pembrokeshire coast, where it is 5 per cent.

In the past three years the situation has arisen in which the highly vocal and influential environmental lobby has intensified its questioning of the Army's primary right to train on MoD land, particularly in Northumberland, where the military training area at Otterburn was established in 1911, some 40-odd years before national parks were created. The national park authorities, which are deeply involved with the environmentalists, gave evidence to the Commons Select Committee in March last year. They said that they were strongly opposed to any "intensification" of military training within national parks, even though they acknowledged that the Army's needs were increasing because of the withdrawal of units from Germany under Options for Change. The national park authorities praised the MoD for its: commendable record in protecting and enhancing the nature conservancy value of their training areas, some of which are now of national importance". But at the same time they recorded that they looked forward to the eventual removal of military training, which they regarded as "incompatible" with the objects and purposes of national parks.

Those statements, which were repeated in the Northumberland National Park's formal plans published in March 1994, aroused concern in the local community, whose economy benefits by £6 million a year from the Army's presence. After three generations of living and working in harmony with the military, whose activities are compatible with upland farming, local people were further incensed at reports that the park authority was to oppose developments to enable the Army to fire its new general purpose field gun, the AS90, on the Otterburn ranges, which are among the most important in the United Kingdom.

Against that background, I believe that if the amendment is not agreed, the national park authority may deny the Army its primary right to train on MoD land. I know that the Committee is well aware, in these uncertain times and this era of sophisticated and technical weaponry, that it is essential that our much reduced Army is properly trained and has the use of appropriate training areas.

My noble friend Lord Vivian, who is unable to be present to speak in support owing to a prior engagement, believes that such areas are essential to the Army today. He strongly supports the amendment. The hardening of attitude and relations between Russia and the West—Russia has over 2 million armed men—and the Fundamentalist Movement covering the whole of southern Europe in a crescent shape signify very real threats to the United Kingdom, if not now then perhaps one day in the future.

Given the opportunity through a Bill to sort out anomalies and conflicts between national park authorities and defence interests, it makes no sense to re-tie the knot that places the Army's real estate within the jurisdiction of a body which says that its purposes are incompatible with those of military training and which uses its terms of reference under DoE policies to support its case. Freeing the MoD to work instead with accountable elected bodies over planning matters would leave national park authorities collectively with 97 per cent. of the total area that they presently supervise and without major conflicts of interest.

Some of the best conserved areas are those which have been used for military training. The public would continue to have the maximum possible access within the bounds of safety.

Lord Williams of Elvel

I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord. He has a very serious case to make. But we wish to get on. With the greatest respect, I wonder whether he could perhaps cut down his remarks.

Noble Lords

Order, order!

Lord Beaumont of Whitley

There are some of us who want to hear the noble Lord.

Lord Annaly

I have about five more lines to utter, if I am allowed the time to say them. No good reason exists why the military training areas such as Otterburn, with their excellent record for conservation and maximum possible public access, should not continue to afford enjoyment to the public without national park designation placed upon them. I beg to move.

8.45 p.m.

Lord Vinson

I rise to support this amendment. I hope that I shall not be too verbose or take up more time than others on the opposite side may have taken up hitherto this evening. It is a probing amendment. It is designed to bring out some of the inherent and inevitable conflicts of interest that have arisen and that will continue to arise between those who wish to see no activity at all other than recreation in the national parks and those who, I believe more realistically, accept that these huge land areas, while being properly earmarked for recreation, also must have other important purposes.

One of the reasons why parts of those areas are so beautiful is that they have been largely undisturbed due to the fact that they belong to the Ministry of Defence. The national parks in this country are different from any overseas. Because of our limited land mass, of necessity our remoter areas have to serve at least two purposes. That raises a paradox. Those Army training grounds to which the public on many occasions has full access amount to only some 3 per cent. of the existing national parks. Yet the Committee will be aware of the virulent campaign mounted by a number of organisations to have the Army removed from them altogether. One wonders whether those who take this attitude ever stop to consider that their potential enjoyment of these areas has only been made possible by the ability of these islands to defend themselves in the past.

Interestingly enough, the presence of the Army is indeed welcomed by the vast majority of those who live and work in the park. The Committee will know of the rally for the national parks led by Mr. Chris Bonnington which, complete with television cameras, stormed the Otterburn ranges to demonstrate that the Army should go. Not surprisingly, in response virtually all the small farmers in the area and their families turned out to support the purpose of the training ground. Mr. Bonnington's demonstration was a complete fiasco and wholly counterproductive for the purposes that he was trying to promote. The presence of the Army is not universally unpopular and indeed its purposes are well understood.

All that begs the wider issue as to whether in future the national parks authority should effectively dictate the nation's defence training policy. This is the heart of the issue. The judgment of the proposed new national parks authority will inevitably be subjective. To date its attitude has clearly demonstrated that it is unhappy living with the Army.

The amendment puts forward a simple solution that would be to remove the Army's training grounds from the area of the proposed national parks so that sensible, strategic decisions on training would be left in the hands of the people at the Ministry of Defence, who are the best qualified to take them. Incidentally, it also overcomes the problem of "quiet enjoyment" and the worries that that gives rise to.

The Army must train somewhere and withdrawal from German training grounds inevitably means that it must concentrate greater activity at home. The campaign mounted by the Council for the National Parks, whose ethos and philosophy will largely drive the thinking of the new national parks authority, illustrates that that potential authority may not be the most suitable body for taking balanced decisions in this matter. Currently the anticipated composition of the authority is heavily weighted with pressure groups and underweighted in respect of those who live and work in the national parks and those who apparently have the wider national interests at heart—people who concede that both necessary defence training and recreation must and should share a common interest in the land use of our national parks on this small island. Therefore, either the composition of the new controlling authority should reflect that point or the training areas used for the defence of the realm should be regarded as outwith the curtilage of the national parks.

I might add that I live in a Northumberland national park area. I chose to go there because of the quiet enjoyment and because I was fortunate enough to be able to choose to lift up mine eyes to the hills from whence cometh our strength. For all the nuisance and noise that the Army training produces in the area, I recognise that Britain's defence requirements are paramount. We should bear that in mind the whole time we are considering this issue.

The Earl of Onslow

Before the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, I was tempted to make a short speech. After his intervention I was tempted to imitate Gladstone and go on to his lengths. However, I shall spare the Committee that torture.

I intervene only to say that five or six years ago I was then chairman of the commons and open spaces society, which has since sacked me because it did not agree with much of what I said. However, I was invited to Salisbury Plain by General Kitson to see the area where the Army trains. It was fascinating. Basically, it was the only bit of Salisbury Plain left which was real tumuli, with mixed old grasses—really like the old heathland. The rest was barley and wheat, sucking in EC agricultural subsidies. It is perfectly reasonable therefore to state that the Army has been extremely good in looking after the fauna and flora of its ranges and training areas.

Since the collapse of communism the world is probably a more dangerous place than it was before. It would be extremely irresponsible not to allow our soldiers and marines to have a proper place to train; that is, a proper and well-guarded place to train. I believe that we can trust them, as in the past, to look after the landscape and the flora and fauna of their training grounds satisfactorily.

Lord Redesdale

Behind the amendment is growing controversy over the Otterburn training area. I must declare an interest. I am a landowner next to the training area. Perhaps I can recount how the training area came into the hands of the Army in the first place. My great-grandfather sold it to the Army after a day of shooting with Churchill. The day was so poor that he turned to Churchill and said, "Well, if it is this bad we might as well turn it into an artillery range". That is what happened: it has been an artillery range ever since.

However, I must speak against the amendment. The arguments put forward would make sense if the Army were about to occupy the land. It has been there for 40 years. I do not believe that it has ever felt constrained by the fact that the area is national park. It would be ridiculous, considering that the aim of the Bill is to put high protection on the land, to remove it from one of the most beautiful areas of Northumberland. However, I should like to speak about the Otterburn training area.

I trained both on the Otterburn training area and in the Brecon Beacons in my capacity as an officer in the TA. I have almost frozen to death in both places. They are beautiful locations and the Army has played a wonderful role in their conservation. However, the present state of agitation is due to the new artillery system, the AS90. I believe that we should carry on training and using those weapons systems. However, I am slightly concerned, having received a Written Answer from the noble Lord, Lord Henley, which informs me in quite bland terms that people outside the national parks will be exposed to impulse noise of no more than 130 decibels. Considering a pneumatic drill puts out only 90 decibels I felt that that was rather harsh.

There is a great deal of anxiety about the AS90. It is an issue that will come back. One of the great strengths of the national park is that it can question what the Army is doing. To put in the new artillery system the Army will have to build a large number of roads in one of the most unspoilt areas of Northumberland. It is unspoilt because the Army used it in the first place. I do not believe that that should be justification to allow it to put in any roads it likes. It must go through the normal channels. The area is a national park. I believe that the Army and the national park can cohabit very happily indeed. Going back to the point of the noble Lord, Lord Vinson, if I were a cynical person I would say that there was a degree of —to use rather unparliamentary language—"stirring". When the AS90 is about to come into the training area of Northumberland, suddenly there is a mood among the local population that the national park is trying to remove the Army from the military area. That is not the case. The national park is trying to limit the effect the Army will have on the training area.

Lord Vinson

Is the noble Lord aware that a campaign was mounted to remove the Army from the Northumberland national park? That is my essential point, along with the noble Lord, Lord Annaly. My second point is that at the end of the day the best judges of the defence requirements of this country are not those who are likely to compose the new national parks authority but those in the Ministry of Defence who are there for that appropriate purpose.

Lord Redesdale

I agree with the noble Lord. The national parks put forward the view that military use of the training area was incompatible with national parks. That does not mean that they want to remove the Army from the training area. That is not their aim.

The military are only landholders. They hold the national park as a training area. If they reach the point where they no longer need it, it can be returned to the national park and used for other uses. There is no reason to suggest that because the Army do necessary work and the national parks are the only areas for training they should not be subject to the same planning laws as other landowners who live within the national park. I reject the amendment. However, I think that the argument over the AS90 will be with us for some time.

9 p.m.

Lord Lyell

In view of the quite justified indignation of the noble Lord, Lord Williams, I rise to speak in one of my only interventions on the Bill. I support strongly what was said by my noble friends Lord Annaly and Lord Vinson. Your Lordships will be appreciative of the fact that the Ministry of Defence takes a fairly harsh line with its employees in looking after all the training areas. I have some experience of the training areas, though not the Pembrokeshire one. I spent a month on Dartmoor doing what your Lordships may feel was crazy—desert training when there was three times the normal rainfall. That was 36 years ago. However, even then we were under considerable pressure not to make more mess than was necessary. We took great care of the roads. I know that that already happens in both the Redesdale and the Otterburn training areas.

As to the views of the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, on the AS90, I do not believe that that gun will be fired from 200 yards each side of the A.68 main road and the habitations along that road. I shall be interested to hear from my noble friend the objections to the training and other issues which I believe are met by both the MoD and by the views of the national parks.

Lord Redesdale

One of the proposed training areas is within a quarter of a mile of the A.68 and of habitations.

Baroness Nicol

We should remember that much of the land owned or occupied by the Ministry of Defence was secured long before national parks were designated. It was included within national park boundaries in the full knowledge that it was being used for military training. The national park areas were chosen because they were tracts of country which possessed natural beauty and because they afforded opportunities for open-air recreation regardless of ownership or use. Is the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Annaly, trying to suggest that something has changed in that?

I hope that this amendment will be rejected. For the many reasons given by the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, about planning and so on, I believe that there are better ways of finding a solution than by taking this land out of the national parks. I have not looked at the maps with this in mind but if these tracts of land were to be taken out of national parks the integrity of the whole area would be destroyed so far as management is concerned. I am sure that there is a much better way of proceeding. There have been conflicts before over such matters. I am sure that this one, too, can be resolved.

Lord Vinson

Perhaps I may expand on the point I made earlier. This is a teasing amendment as much as anything. If the national park and its chairman and principal officers are not prepared to make some gesture that they will continue to live happily with the Army, which most of us would believe they should, we put forward the suggestion that the only way out of this dilemma is to remove the areas occupied by the Army from the national parks. That is the last thing that any of us wants to see but it is put forward to try to get some gesture of good will from those who speak for the new national park authorities. We hope that they will work closely with the Army and recognise that this country has real defence necessities.

Lord Norrie

I find myself in a rather precarious position because I served as an officer in the same regiment as the noble Lord, Lord Annaly, so I can understand his sentiments and those of the noble Lord, Lord Vinson. However, tonight I am wearing a different hat. I have to oppose the amendment which suggests that military training should be taken out of the national parks. The Government are committed to affording national parks the highest status of landscape protection. They are not selective in that commitment. The commitment relates to the land in all national parks, whatever the land use. The integrity of national parks has been given the highest importance ever since the parks were first designated. As has already been said, the Ministry of Defence owns or leases land in many of the national parks. In the Dartmoor, Northumberland and Pembrokeshire coast parks it owns or leases 16 per cent. of the total area. The removal from those parks of land which is used for military training would seriously erode their natural beauty, integrity and the opportunities that they offer for enjoyment by the public.

The Ministry of Defence prides itself on its conservation record and it views itself as a good custodian of the national heritage that is contained within the boundaries of the national parks. It works closely with the park authorities to try to strike a balance between the national interest in national parks and the national interest in the defence of the realm. It has signed a declaration of commitment to national parks. In view of the Government's commitments to national parks, the drafting of the amendment seems to be completely against their intentions.

Lord Marlesford

I was relieved when my noble friend Lord Vinson told us that we need not take his proposal too seriously. This is really the kind of debate that one would expect after the third glass of port after dinner. The only serious point one should make is that it is perfectly reasonable for the Ministry of Defence to have to justify its continued use or extended use of the national parks as and when it requires to do so, just as it has to justify its use of public money to the Treasury. It is a perfectly healthy and sensible debate which has come to a serious and sensible conclusion. I do not doubt that there will be relatively happy co-existence between the two for many years to come. I doubt whether UDI is really the answer.

Viscount Ullswater

I know that concern has been expressed regarding military training in national parks. However, I believe that we are in danger of exaggerating both the scale of the issue and the degree to which it cannot be reconciled.

Military use of national parks accounts for only some 3 per cent. of the parks' total area of more than 3 million acres. Furthermore, as my noble friend Lord Vinson said, the facilities for military training provided by the parks are vital for our defence needs. Those cannot be dispensed with and could not easily be replicated elsewhere, which is the tone of what my noble friend Lord Norrie indicated. In any case, defence uses are an important contributor to the economy of some of the parks. In addition, MoD's record on conservation is good and public access is encouraged wherever possible, as I believe my noble friend Lord Onslow told the Committee.

I do not wish to comment on the military use of Otterburn in the Northumberland National Park. No formal proposals have yet been put forward and the MoD will in any event follow the planning procedures in putting forward its proposals. Furthermore, I reassure my noble friends Lord Annaly and Lord Vinson that the national park authorities have shown a pragmatic acceptance of the reality of the continuing military presence and the need to reconcile national security with the conservation of the parks' environment. In particular, they have pursued both nationally and individually the goal of improved dialogue and better liaison with the Ministry of Defence. I point to MoD's 1987 Declaration of Commitment to the national parks and the longstanding and active local liaison arrangements on Dartmoor in that respect.

I recognise that the defence estate must on occasions lie uneasily within the national parks. However, I do not accept that any conflicts produced are either so severe or so irreconcilable as to warrant the approach proposed by my noble friend's amendment. Therefore, I ask him to withdraw it.

Lord Annaly

I thank my noble friends Lord Vinson and Lord Onslow for their support and everyone else who has made a contribution to this short debate. It has aired the subject. I am not going to press the amendment. There is concern but if, as my noble friend Lord Marlesford said, people are sensible and see that there are two points of view, that is to be welcomed. There is some relevance to the amendment of my noble friend Lord Peel which we shall come to shortly as regards what comprises the national parks authorities and local representation thereon. Provided that happens I see that there will be some sense on the national parks authorities. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 7 [National Park authorities]:

[Amendment No. 258A had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Lord Derwent

moved Amendment No. 258AA: Page 138, line 37, at end insert: (" () Principal councils shall have regard to the desirability of appointing to the National Park Authority councillors representing wards within the Park"). The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment in my name and that of the noble Earl, Lord Peel, I shall speak also to Amendment Nos. 258EA and 258EB which are also in my name. They are all concerned with trying to overcome what I call the "democratic deficit" which will exist because the national park authorities will not be directly elected by the voters who live in the park. There is no perfect way of doing that, but I believe that between them these three amendments will do much to make residents, of which I am one, feel that they have a real chance to influence a body which is going to affect their daily lives.

Difficulties arise because it is in practice going to be very difficult to ensure that the local authority members on the park authority represent the interests of people living in the park. Many of the councils which will be appointing members have the bulk of their population, and therefore the majority of their councillors, in areas outside the park. Even where that is not so, the need to take account of political balance may mean that councillors have to be appointed to the park authority who have very little interest in the concerns of the inhabitants. By way of demonstration of the problem which already exists, I understand that in Northumberland at present only one member of the present park authority lives within the 400 square miles of the park.

My Amendment No. 258AA recognises that for purely mathematical and practical reasons it would not be possible to insist that local authority members must represent wards within the park. I recognise that Paragraph 20 of the draft guidance specifically encourages the appointment of councillors who live in or represent wards in the park. However, it seems to me that this is not a provision which governments will wish to vary from time to time and therefore it should be on the face of the Bill.

My Amendment No. 258EA recognises the fact that many councillors who do represent wards in the park will not be on the park authority. When park authorities are, as at present, nominally committees of county councils, it is quite easy for the full council to be informed. But now that park authorities are to be independent bodies it may be desirable to impose on them a duty to give an account of their stewardship to the principal councils. I do not have in mind that they should compile a special report. Under Paragraph 26 of the Minister's draft guidance they will already be preparing an annual report to the Secretary of State which can and should be made available to all members of the relevant councils. What I believe is required is a mechanism for formal discussion of this report with the principal councils.

My Amendment No. 258EB, which is the most important of the three, seeks to give a role on the face of the Bill to parish councils in England and community councils in Wales. I am not sure of the position in Wales, but in England the parish councils in most cases will be the only elected bodies whose areas lie wholly within national park boundaries and therefore the only people whose first priority will be the people who live, work and own land in the park. The matter is dealt with in paragraphs 16 and 17 of the draft guidance and I am grateful to the Minister for going a long way to meet the concerns expressed by your Lordships during the debates on the Norrie Bill.

However, parish councils appear in the guidance only as one of a list of bodies to be consulted. I think that that gets the emphasis wrong. I repeat that parish councils are the only democratically elected bodies lying wholly within the parks. They are part of democratic local government and there should be a formal mechanism for consulting them. They are therefore in a different category from the other bodies that have been mentioned.

The reason for wanting the amendment is that at present there is no mention of parish councils or community councils in the Bill as drafted. I believe that if ministerial guidance is to be effective, it should be tied to something in the Bill. Government policy is in favour of an enhanced role for parish councils and community councils in local government. That is what I hope to see in national parks.

I hope that the Minister will recognise the anxieties of park residents that they will have no adequate way of making their voices heard and feel able to accept all these amendments. All the ground covered is already in the guidance, but as these are not objectives that will vary from time to time and as it is not, therefore, desirable for the guidance to be amended from time to time, I feel that they should be on the face of the Bill. I beg to move.

9.15 p.m.

Lord Feversham

I am grateful for the fact that these amendments have been tabled because they give us a chance to examine matters of detail which are not at present in the Bill but which it is intended should be dealt with by ministerial directives. As has been said, we have the comfort of the draft directions which were circulated by the department earlier this week. However, I start from the premise that there is far too much legislative detail resolved by ministerial directive—a view which I suspect is widely shared in this House and in another place by all who are not members of the Executive.

I agree in principle with Amendment No. 258AA. There may be a difficulty, however, in that where something is desirable and where, Principal councils shall have regard to the desirability", it may be better for that to be left to ministerial directive. Amendments Nos. 258EA and 258EB, on the other hand, actually legislate, stating that national parks "shall" do this or that. If this or that "shall" be done, in my view that ought to be incorporated in the Bill.

I have no quarrel with Amendment No. 258EA, but I propose to concentrate my support on Amendment No. 258EB. I shall make no bones about it. Parish councillors feel, have felt for some time and will, I have little doubt, go on feeling that they ought to have a seat at the table of their national park committee. The argument against that has always been that the parish councils in any given national park would never agree on a single representative to promote their multitudinous views. That is Premier Division claptrap. Parish councils find such representatives for all kinds of regional bodies without any difficulty whatsoever.

That battle was fought and lost last year during the passage of the Private Member's Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Norrie. I should add that we did not fight very hard owing not only to the fragility of Private Member's legislation and our great love for the noble Lord, Lord Norrie, and his dog Nat, but also to the fact that we have even greater love for our national parks and an overriding desire to rescue them from that mess of potage otherwise known as "local government reorganisation". What was gained then, however, was a recognition by the Government and all involved that something should be done to improve the lines of communication between local councils and the national parks. There seems to be a consensus on that. Why not incorporate it into the Bill?

Lord Beaumont of Whitley

We on these Benches are sympathetic to the amendments because they involve a greater degree of democracy. Clause 59 lays a duty on the councils to pay attention to the national parks and their objectives. That is absolutely right, but there is room as a result for a reciprocal arrangement whereby the national park should have considerable care for local democracy and should have as much leeway as possible under the national objectives. For that reason we would definitely support Amendments Nos. 258EA and 258EB. I am not certain that Amendment No. 258AA is quite right, but its sentiments are absolutely right. I hope that the Government will see their way to meet those particular points.

Viscount Ullswater

I am aware that there is considerable interest in the manner in which local authorities appoint members to the national park authorities, which is reflected in Amendment No. 258AA, moved by my noble friend Lord Derwent. There is a great deal of concern that the local authorities should appoint members who are in touch with the people who live and work in the parks and not include among their appointees those who may live some distance away or who appear to have little interest in park affairs—although they will, of course, represent charge payers contributing to the parks' costs.

I also am firmly of the view that it is in the best interests of local people that local authorities appoint members to the new authorities who represent wards in the parks. However, there may be appointments for which such a requirement would prove impossible. The relevant member may not wish to serve. There may be other members of the local authority with relevant experience. And there are the political balance provisions to be observed, which we believe is a general principle that should govern all local authority appointments.

Therefore, we have included guidance on the matter in the draft circular, which emphasises the importance that we attach to local authorities appointing as their members people who live in the parks or those who represent wards which lie wholly or partly in the parks. Therefore, we have gone a long way towards satisfying the purpose of the amendment.

Amendment No. 258EA would require the national parks to give annual accounts of their stewardship of the parks to the principal councils in the parks. However, under Schedule 7, paragraph 15 of the Bill, the national park authorities will be required to produce reports, as are all local authorities, under Section 230 of the Local Government Act 1972. That Act allows the Secretary of State to determine the frequency of their reports and, as our draft circular makes clear, these reports will be annual.

Regular and comprehensive reports are important as a basis for the continuing dialogue between the national park authorities and their local communities. They are also a means by which the national park authority can publicise its achievements. The national park authorities will be required to produce annual reports of their stewardship of the parks in which they will be expected to include consideration of matters which are of interest to their constituent local authorities, parish councils and other bodies operating within the park.

Amendment No. 258EB emphasises the importance of parish and community councils in the parks. We attach special importance to giving parish councils the fullest opportunity to comment on and contribute to park policies. We also recognise the importance of ensuring that the views of local people and communities in the parks are heard. As we have stated in our draft circular, the national park authorities will be expected to make formal arrangements, where they do not already exist, to ensure that local people, including local voluntary groups and recognised user interests of the parks, have a proper and regular opportunity to make known their views. As the draft circular makes clear, we attach special importance to giving parish councils the fullest opportunity to comment on and contribute to park policies.

I hope that my reply reassures and meets the concerns of my noble friend and I therefore ask him to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Derwent

I am grateful to the Minister for some of the comments that he made because we are in agreement with each other. Perhaps he will answer the question that I asked on Amendment No. 258EB. My problem is that parish councils are not mentioned in this part of the Bill, nor are community councils. A reference to them in the Bill would greatly strengthen the permanence of the guidance. It was only when I tried to amend the Bill that I discovered that I had to insert a new clause because parish councils did not appear.

I shall not press the matter at this hour of night. However, perhaps between now and the Report stage the Minister will consider whether there is any objection—indeed, any great advantage—in putting on the face of the Bill a provision in similar terms to Amendment No. 258EB to which the guidance can refer.

Viscount Ullswater

I shall look carefully at what my noble friend said and has now repeated. I give no guarantee that I shall return with any form of amendment but I should like to make certain that what I believe to be the proper way of dealing with the matter—namely, by using the draft guidance—is the best way forward. However, I shall look carefully at what my noble friend said.

Lord Derwent

I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Viscount Ullswater

moved Amendment No. 258B: Page 138, line 40, after second ("authority") insert ("(a)"). On Question, amendment agreed to.

Viscount Ullswater

moved Amendment No. 258C: Page 138, line 42, at end insert ("but (b) his appointment may, before any such cessation, be terminated for the purposes of, and in accordance with, sections 15 to 17 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989."). On Question, amendment agreed to.

Viscount Ullswater

moved Amendment No. 258D: Page 138, line 43, leave out ("(5)") and insert ("(5) (a)"). On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Airedale)

Amendment No. 258DA is an amendment to Schedule 7 and not to Clause 7, as stated on the Marshalled List.

The Earl of Cranbrook

moved Amendment No. 258DA: Page 139, line 10, after ("Commission") insert ("and the Nature Conservancy Council for England"). The noble Earl said: I am grateful to the noble Lord the Deputy Chairman of Committees for making that point, which I had been going to make. This grouping brings together amendments which have a common theme but which nevertheless are separate, in so far as one amends the schedule and the others amend Clause 62.

We are legislating for the national parks of the future. During the course of our debates today I have been struck by how much the pressure and the sentiments in relation to national parks have been driven by considerations of the national parks of the present. I have been struck by how much my noble friend Lord Norrie and those speaking for the Council of National Parks consider that recreation, access and landscape are the prime purposes of parks.

Those matters are extremely important and have been so, but we are now considering legislation and rules that will govern our parks in the future. As we agreed at the beginning of our discussions today in Committee, they will have as their primary purpose the conservation of natural beauty, which my noble friend has assured me includes also natural landscape and land form elements, and wildlife. Therefore, we are legislating for the governance of national parks in which those matters are of equal and paramount importance alongside the traditional values for which national parks have been so important. That is the sentiment behind this set of amendments.

It seems to me extremely important indeed that those who form the national park authorities and those who are appointed to them by the Secretary of State should include among them those who have genuine experience of nature conservation.

Members of the Committee will recall that at the beginning of the past calendar year, the Secretary of State for the Environment required the Nature Conservancy Council for England, English Nature and the Countryside Commission to look at the possibility of merger. One of the products of that inquiry was to make it clear that there are serious differences in the terms of reference, the remit and the approach which English Nature and the Countryside Commission take; and that really the areas of their expertise and the undoubted skill of their staff, commissioners or council members differ quite considerably. That was the conclusion of the merger inquiry.

It is clear that the two bodies have different competences. So far as concerns statutory bodies, the competence for nature conservation, which will be of paramount importance in the national parks of the future, abides with the statutory nature conservation body, whereas the competence and the skills for other issues—such as landscape preservation and access—lie with the Countryside Commission. They are equals in their skills but they are separate. Those skills are not necessarily shared either by the staff or by council or commission members.

The Secretary of State has urged us to work more closely together, and, indeed, we shall do so. However, close working is best achieved by equal working; in other words, by parity and not by subservience. Therefore, it seems to me to be sensible to suggest that when the Secretary of State considers his list of appointees he should be obliged to consult both the statutory nature conservation body as well as the statutory landscape and access body. In effect, that is what my first amendment proposes.

I am aware that we have the capacity and opportunity to put names forward. However, I have inquired and discovered, as far as I can ascertain, that never has the Nature Conservancy Council or English Nature been consulted on nominations to park authorities. I believe that it would be sensible to ensure that such consultation takes place. Nominations should be sought from the two bodies on an equal basis where the skills and expertise are so separate. That is the point of my first amendment.

My second pair of amendments arises from the same basic point: 140,000 hectares of national park land is SSSI and, as I said earlier this afternoon, 16 per cent. of national park surface is SSSI. In addition, there are very many regionally important geological sites, as I also emphasised earlier, and many other important sites of nature conservation. Given the new primary purpose for the parks, there is no doubt that skills and expertise in management of that national nature conservation resource will be tremendously important in preparing plans for the management of the park. Therefore, my second amendments effectively suggest that, when such plans are prepared, English Nature should have a statutory position alongside the Countryside Commission as a consultee.

The situation in Wales is different because it has a combined body. Where national parks are concerned, the Countryside Council for Wales will be able to give that combined advice and expertise, drawing on the combined skills of the staff. One of the great successes of the Countryside Council for Wales has been the fact that it has managed to integrate nature conservation with landscape conservation, access and other issues throughout the organisation in a skilful and appropriate manner. Indeed, the council shares the skills and the staff share the skills.

When we come to consider the English situation, it is clear to me that English Nature and the Countryside Commission together equal the Countryside Council for Wales. Therefore, in order to ensure that the English national parks receive expertise of the same quality as the Welsh ones will receive in both those cases I believe that my amendments are appropriate. As I said, they deal with two different aspects but that is what links them together. I beg to move.

9.30 p.m.

Lord Chorley

I rise to express my support for the amendment moved by the noble Earl, Lord Cranbrook. I do so because in the National Trust we work very closely with all the organisations set out in the schedule under discussion. However, we also work very closely with English Nature. We are most conscious of the increasing importance of nature conservation in the management of national parks; for example, in matters to do with habitat restoration and so on. In the National Trust we did not want to encourage not merging the Countryside Commission and English Nature, so it seems to me that the proper pari passu treatment now is to draw English Nature into the consultative process, as has been so ably expressed by the noble Earl. I hope that the Government will treat this amendment with sympathy.

Earl Peel

I, too, wish to support my noble friend. It strikes me that this is a sensible and helpful amendment. I am sure that the Government will argue about where one draws the line as regards consultees. However, as my noble friend so eloquently said, we are talking about one of the main advisers to the Government on conservation purposes and, as he has quite rightly said, that is a primary purpose within this Bill as regards the national park authorities. The experience of English Nature within SSSIs is quite clear. Its obligations as regards the European habitat designations —for example, SPAs, SACs and so on—are such that it will be an integral part of the whole national park scene. I think to eliminate it from the consultee process would be a retrograde step. I hope that my noble friend will take seriously what my noble friend Lord Cranbrook has suggested.

Viscount Ullswater

The national park authorities will be expected to work in particularly close co-operation with the Countryside Commission and the Countryside Council for Wales. These bodies have an association with the parks as the successor bodies to the National Parks Commission which goes back to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. They were given statutory duties in respect of the national park boundary designation and variation procedures set out in the 1949 Act which are unchanged by this Bill.

Amendment No. 258DA moved by my noble friend Lord Cranbrook deals with the Secretary of State's appointments to the new authorities. The Secretary of State's members on the national park authorities are appointed to represent the wider national interests for which the parks are designated. We appreciate that there is a great deal of interest in the Secretary of State's appointments to the new authorities and we seek and encourage nominations from a wide range of organisations with an interest in the parks. English Nature is, of course, one of those bodies from which we would welcome nominations. We will take active steps to ensure that it is invited to do so.

There is no evidence that the Secretary of State's interests are not well served by the advice the Countryside Commission offers, nor is there any evidence that nature conservation interests are not well represented among his appointees. Some 30 per cent. of the current appointees to the English national park boards and committees have nature conservation interests.

The practical difficulties of two organisations seeking information about the potential candidates for appointment and the burden that that could place on the nominees have also to be taken into consideration. English Nature and the Countryside Commission are themselves developing closer links and partnerships. Perhaps my noble friend's aspirations could best be met through this arrangement, whereby the Countryside Commission would feel free to consult English Nature where it felt that there was an advantage in doing so.

My noble friend Lord Cranbrook also expressed his firm view that English Nature should also be given special recognition with respect to the management plans of the new authorities. However, the particular skills and expertise which English Nature brings to the parks is already formally recognised. In October 1993, the national park authorities, the Broads Authority, English Nature and the two countryside agencies signed an agreement which specifically recognised the importance of the very close working arrangements between the park authorities and English Nature. This applies not only to the preparation and revision of management plans but also to every aspect of the parks' work which has implications for wildlife.

I also would like to draw my noble friend's attention to the draft circular, and more particularly to paragraph 13 of that draft circular. I have no doubt that there will continue to be close working when the new authorities replace the existing boards and committees and so I do not believe there is anything to be gained by the proposed amendment.

The national park authorities will, I am sure, take seriously their responsibilities to consult widely and seek the views of interested agencies and organisations. They will build on the foundations which the existing national park boards and committees have laid in this respect. They will no doubt pay particular attention to their consultation arrangements in the light of the revised national park purposes. I do not believe that my noble friend's amendment is needed to ensure that the new authorities will exercise their responsibilities properly.

I hope that that reassures my noble friend and that he will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

The Earl of Cranbrook

With respect, I felt that it was symptomatic that my noble friend the Minister also harked back to 1949 and the perfectly satisfactory arrangements which have worked hitherto. He referred to the agreement. It is not a statutory agreement but it is one which has been negotiated. It illustrates the way in which English Nature likes to work. We have negotiated similar agreements with a number of bodies such as the National Trust, the Forestry Commission and so on. They are a very useful way of working. However, they do not give me the same confidence as would the statutory emplacement of English Nature within the Bill in the way I have requested.

I shall take the matter away with some regret and have another look at it. I may write to the Minister again and try to persuade him that what I propose will achieve the objectives. He says that he has no doubts. I too have no doubts. However, I would have greater reassurance if there were statutory backing to achieve the same objectives for which the Minister has declared his own aspirations. For the time being, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 7, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 61 [General purposes and powers]:

Viscount Ullswater

moved Amendment No. 258E: Page 67, line 19 leave out from first ("of") to end of line 20 and insert ("conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage, and promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment by the public of the special qualities, of National Parks)."). The noble Viscount said: I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 258ZB. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 61, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 8 agreed to.

Clause 62 [National Park Management Plans]:

[Amendments Nos. 258EX to 258EZ not moved.]

Clause 62 agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 258EA and 258EB not moved.]

Clauses 63 and 64 agreed to.

Clause 65 [Planning authority functions under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981]:

Viscount Ullswater

moved Amendment No. 258F: Page 73, line 26, leave out ("61(1) of the Environment Act 1995."") and insert ("5(1) of the 1949 Act (purposes of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage, and promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment by the public of the special qualities, of National Parks).""). The noble Viscount said: I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 258ZB. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 65, as amended, agreed to.

9.45 p.m.

Baroness Stedmanmoved Amendment No. 259:

After Clause 65, insert the following new clause:


.—(1) Each National Park Authority shall include in its definitive map as required by the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 as amended, information distinguishing as accessible or otherwise particular features represented in that map.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) above the Secretary of State may, after such consultation as he sees fit, by regulations prescribe—

  1. (a) as features, the accessibility or otherwise of which shall be recorded in a definitive map, particular rights of way and facilities or structures making provision for particular purposes;
  2. (b) characteristics the presence of which in relation to such features shall be deemed to render those features accessible to people in spite of any motor or sensory disability;
  3. (c) the colour in which any features so deemed to be accessible shall be recorded in the definitive map.

(3) Each National Park Authority shall make available all information recorded for the time being in its definitive map in the form prescribed under subsection (2) above to the Ordnance Survey for publication and shall provide that information also to the Copyright Libraries.").

The noble Baroness said: I was encouraged to table the amendment because it seemed to me that at a time when the Government were introducing both the Environment Bill and the Disability Discrimination Bill in the same Session a new clause such as the one I suggest was unlikely to provoke outright opposition from the Government and they might even be encouraged to accept the principle behind it.

The purpose of the amendment is to secure that Ordnance Survey maps derived from the statutory definitive maps of the national parks will in future show as accessible or otherwise features which will be important to visitors to the parks who have either motor or sensory disabilities.

If acceptable to the Government, my proposed new clause would allow access to the heritage of our national parks by an enlarged population of several million people. The Office of Population, Census and Surveys suggest that some 6.2 million adults in the United Kingdom have material disabilities. All those people, and more, could have better access if the information they require is presented in the form of a single series of Ordnance Survey maps for any customer—the able bodied and the disabled alike.

I understand that there is at present a legal requirement on national park authorities and committees to prepare and keep under revision the definitive maps of their areas showing, in particular, the rights of way within their boundaries. Thus, my suggestion would not require any new expenditure on the provision of access but merely a record of the extent of access already provided.

The amendment would extend the knowledge of that provision and widen considerably the field of its potential users—those 6.2 million adults to whom I referred. In return, they would represent recruits to the market for services within the national parks. The provision of access and the necessary publicity about it could reap a return in economic as well as in social terms.

There would be little or no cost to Ordnance Survey in providing material to a widened market for its leisure series, and it would not require any new series. For over two centuries Ordnance Survey has developed the language of cartographic symbols and how to apply them. My proposal would involve no change in that area. Acceptance of the principle underlying the amendment would continue and enlarge the theme of access to the countryside. It would also continue the theme of integration of able-bodied and disabled persons in society—something with which I have had active involvement for many years through my association with PHAB, and TRIPSCOPE, which provides all necessary information for the disabled on travel throughout the United Kingdom and abroad. I believe that what I suggest would bring a positive economic return both to the Ordnance Survey and to local trade.

I envisage the consultations referred to in subsection (2) of my amendment as being about successive stages in a positive process of delivering something newly beneficial to people with disabilities and implying at the same time a corresponding extension of potential markets.

The DoE, I am sure, would have the good sense to consult at national and at local level with organisations representing disabled persons, while the national parks would consult local and locally represented organisations with like interests. The All-Party Disablement Group and RADAR could be consulted, but the clause does not limit those whom the Secretary of State might involve in discussions.

After consultations, the regulations to be made would relate to the national parks' definitive maps identifying the physical features of the environment including rights of way, facilities and structures. The regulations would also specify in relation to each category so identified physical characteristics, the presence of which is to be regarded as providing accessibility—such facilities as reserved parking spaces, telephones with handsets and dials at wheelchair height, or equipped for users of hearing aids, counters at information centres on a level with wheelchair users, graphic explanations at viewpoints at a height which people can see from a wheelchair, and descriptions of visible features that might be available on tape or cast in Braille.

The final subsection of my amendment is in relation to the derivation of the OS maps from the national parks authorities' definitive maps where the regulations would specify a distinctive colour in which the existing conventional symbols for such features are printed where they are so identified as being accessible.

I know that the Minister will give careful consideration to the points I have raised. It is only a probing amendment at this stage. I accept that the noble Viscount may have to tell me that my drafting is defective. However, I hope that he will be willing to accept the thinking behind the proposed clause and that perhaps during the passage of the Bill he will consult with me and others concerned as to how best to achieve the purpose of the clause. If, after all that, the noble Viscount sees fit to bring forward an amendment of his own, I should be only too happy. I beg to move

Viscount Ullswater

Responsibility for producing definitive maps rests with the highway authorities, including those maps which encompass the national parks. The purpose of the maps and statements is to record the public rights found to exist and any legal limitations or conditions which affect public use of the way. This may include features such as stiles and gates but it will not include surfacing, for example. Authorities have duties under other legislation to keep rights of way free from obstruction and appropriately maintained. While it is important that information on access for disabled people should be readily available—the national park authorities will be ideally placed to provide such advice—it is not appropriate in the context of the definitive map and statement. I am confident, however, that the national park authorities will be keen to develop policies which enable all people to appreciate the special qualities of their areas.

The noble Baroness spoke about the Ordnance Survey and the importance of showing on its maps information which helps disabled people to enjoy the countryside. Ordnance Survey decides which information it is appropriate to show on its popular maps, which are the 1:50,000 scale Landranger and the 1:25,000 scale Pathfinder maps. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis with the overall benefit to Ordnance Survey's customers and the readability of maps the main criteria for inclusion. The noble Baroness will understand that there are limits to what may be shown on small-scale, general purpose maps if those maps are to remain readable.

Additional information is held by Ordnance Survey in its national topographic database. In principle this could incorporate information about access to the countryside for the disabled if this were available from a comprehensive and reliable source and users could obtain print-outs from the database tailored to meet their specific purposes in the form of large-scale maps.

I think I have indicated that this is not the most appropriate approach for the purpose which the noble Baroness quite rightly has in mind for people with disabilities. I hope that after what I have said she will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Stedman

I am most grateful to the noble Viscount. He has given me far more information than I had previously. I was encouraged to put down the amendment because of the leisure maps produced by the Ordnance Survey which contain a tremendous amount of information. It seems to me that they could easily be adapted to show where certain things are available for the disabled.

I am grateful to the Minister for the care he has taken in his reply. I shall read what he said and perhaps consult as to how we can achieve what I seek in some other way. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 66 agreed to.

Schedule 9 [Miscellaneous statutory functions of authorities]:

Lord Derwent

moved Amendment No. 259A: Page 150, line 41, at beginning insert: ("Public rights of way .—(1) In a National Park for which a National Park authority is the local planning authority, the authority shall be the highway authority for any public right of way for which the Minister is not the highway authority; and references in the Highways Act 1980 to highway authorities shall be construed accordingly. (2) In sub-paragraph (1) above, "public rights of way" means any highway which is a right of way to which Part III of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 applies (as defined in section 66 of that Act) or which is a way shown as a road used as a public path in a definitive map and statement prepared under that Part of that Act. (3) Section 42 of the Highways Act 1980 (power of district councils to maintain certain highways) shall not apply to any highway for which a National Park authority is, by virtue of sub-paragraph (1) above, the highway authority."). The noble Lord said: In addressing Amendment No. 259A in my name and the names of my noble friends Lord Addison and Lord Wise and the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, I also speak to Amendments Nos. 259B and 259C. These are substantive amendments. I apologise that they are taken so late at night and I say right from the start that they are supported by the Association of National Parks, the Council for National Parks, the Country Landowners' Association, the Ramblers Association, the Countryside Commission, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Association of County Councils. The purpose of my amendments is to transfer responsibilities for management of rights of way, mapping of rights of way and traffic regulation orders—which perhaps I may refer to as TROs—within the parks to national park authorities. In the case of TROs, for reasons that I shall come to later, these powers would duplicate those of existing traffic authorities.

At the outset, I want to make clear what the amendments do not do. They do not in any way seek to change the rights of way network or argue for more or less access. They are solely concerned with mapping and management. They do not affect trunk roads, for which the Secretary of State is the highways authority. In using the term "public rights of way" it is also intended to exclude metalled roads, which are the proper concern of existing highway authorities.

Next, I stress that Amendment No. 259A does not represent anything very revolutionary. It merely reflects what I always understood to be government policy. The National Parks Review Panel recommended that, All National Park Authorities should have the full range of powers … to keep the definition maps under review, to make orders altering … rights of way, and to maintain the rights of way network". In their response to Professor Edwards' report, the Government laid stress on their view that the national parks should be responsible for running the rights of way network. This amendment would achieve that.

My proposal merely recognises that there are certain parts of the highways network where it is logical for the parks to be responsible. Effectively they would become the highways authorities for those roads, paths and lanes which most laymen refer to as the public rights of way network, although in law they are highways.

I should like to deal next with some of the objections that might be raised. The first might be that it would be confusing to have different highway authorities operating in a particular area. That is not so. Section 42 of the Highways Act specifically acknowledges that there are circumstances where different highway authorities would be permissible. That section provides that district councils have a right to take over maintenance of footpaths, bridleways and urban roads; if they do so, they in effect become the highway authority. Incidentally, subsection (3) of this amendment would prevent district councils exercising these powers in respect of footpaths and bridleways in the park if rights of way management is given to national park authorities.

Secondly, it might be said that in practice everything has worked very well until now and that it would be wrong further to overburden an already long Bill. I accept that in practice many highway authorities have delegated the management of rights of way to park committees. The trouble is that others have not and have declined to do so. For example, in the North Yorkshire National Park, North Yorkshire County Council has delegated its powers. Cleveland has not. In all, there are four national parks where similar problems arise. That means that at an arbitrary and invisible point on the map, maintenance of a footpath suddenly shifts from the park to a county council. That cannot be right. Furthermore, in most national parks the work on the definitive map, which was referred to in relation to the last amendment by the noble Baroness, Lady Stedman, has not been transferred to national park authorities at all.

I must stress that in the Bill it is firmly laid down that it is one of the two purposes of the national park authorities to promote enjoyment of the national parks. It is hard to see how the park authorities can fulfil that purpose if they do not have responsibility for or control of the rights of way network in their areas.

Finally, it might be argued that instead of this amendment it would be adequate for the Secretary of State to direct all highway authorities to delegate to national park authorities their powers under agency agreements. As I have already mentioned, many do. But this is unsatisfactory. First, I am not clear that the Secretary of State has powers to give such a direction. Secondly, it is unsatisfactory to leave a residual democratic responsibility with a delegating authority. It must be better to grant powers to national park authorities as of right rather than to insist that powers be delegated to them by someone else who remains responsible to the voters.

The time for a change is now. It would not be efficient to have the new national park authorities try to negotiate new schemes of delegation for rights of way powers with the new local authorities being set up under local government reorganisation. In any case, as I said, such authorities have no obligation to delegate anyway. If these amendments are passed, such negotiations would no longer be necessary.

I should like to turn to Amendments Nos. 259B and 259C. In a sense they are consequential, but they are both important in their own right. Amendment No. 259B lays firmly on the park authority both the responsibility and the authority to complete the mapping of the rights of way network in its area. Subsection (2)—this provision is obviously desirable—enables the park authority to prepare a single modified map and statement for the whole of a park. At present, each highway authority is responsible for its own area of the park and the work is being carried out in a piecemeal fashion. It is clearly preferable that one body should survey a park as a whole.

Furthermore, I stress that experience on the ground shows that it is much more efficient to have one body responsible for both the mapping and the practical work. Park officers tell me that real difficulties arise when, before a park can carry out physical work, they have constantly to refer to a county council, which may be slow in responding, to sort out problems about the definitive map.

Amendment No. 259C would give a national park authority the same power to restrict the use of footpaths, bridleways or by-ways open to all traffic that is currently enjoyed by all highway authorities. It would have such powers only in respect of the rights of way for which it was responsible.

At present, when a park authority wishes to start procedures for a TRO to be imposed—for example, to stop the use by motorised traffic of unsuitable lanes or by-ways—in practice it has to persuade the county council or other highway authority to initiate action. It is not surprising that county surveyors, who have other priorities, need considerable persuasion to undertake the work involved. After all, it is not the primary purpose of the county surveyor to promote enjoyment of a national park.

It is relevant to say to the Minister quite seriously that on many occasions when Ministers have been asked to take action to control the use by, say, four-wheel drive vehicles, of by-ways which are suitable only for pedestrians or horses, they have consistently (and correctly) replied that highway authorities already have sufficient powers through the mechanism of imposing TROs. Indeed, they have deplored—I have heard them do it—the reluctance of highway authorities to use those powers. The problem in a national park has been that the bodies with the powers have not been particularly interested, whereas the park authorities, who fully understand the need to protect the enjoyment of the park, have not had the powers to do anything about it. Amendment No. 259C would rectify that situation.

In short, the amendments put clearly into the remit of the national park authorities the responsibility for three activities: to survey and record what the rights of way network consists of; to maintain and manage the network; and to take the responsibility for initiating limitations on the use of the network through the Traffic Regulations Order procedures. I believe that on the grounds of logic, timeliness and efficiency, the Bill is the right place to introduce these amendments. I hope that they will commend themselves both to the Minister and to the Committee.

I understand that departments other than the Minister's are involved in these matters and that he may not be in a position to agree with them tonight. However, after having listened to the debate this evening, perhaps he could take them away for further consultation in Whitehall, with the intention of coming back to the subject at Report stage. That might be for the convenience of Members. I beg to move.

10 p.m.

Viscount Addison

I speak in support of Amendments Nos. 259A, 259B and 259C. Every year, 1 million visits are made to the national parks and many of those visitors enjoy the parks by using the rights of way network—walking, cycling and horse riding are the most popular activities in the parks, and all make use of the rights of way.

As my noble friend Lord Derwent so ably pointed out, national parks are designated for the promotion of public enjoyment. It is therefore logical and consistent that the national park authorities, which have few statutory responsibilities, should have responsibility for rights of way as the National Parks Review Panel recommended. In making that recommendation the panel was not arguing for a major change to the present pattern of routes; rather it argued for an effective accessible network.

In recommending that national park authorities be given responsibility for rights of way matters, the panel said that the authorities, with their ranger and warden services, are much better placed to deal with problems of path-routeing and maintenance than are the highway authorities. It recommended that the authorities should be responsible for the definitive map, as Amendment No. 259B sets out.

Giving responsibility for different parts of the rights of way network to the most appropriate body is not without precedent, as my noble friend Lord Derwent pointed out. Clearly, transferring responsibility from one authority to another will also involve transferring the necessary resources. But that is not an increased cost and the simple matter of transfer should not present problems for the Government. In short, giving the new national park authorities responsibility for rights of way is logical and will remove a tier of unnecessary bureaucracy.

The Earl of Onslow

Earlier in the evening we had a debate on "quiet enjoyment", on which the Committee accepted an amendment against the advice of my noble friend Lord Ullswater. What struck me forcefully listening to the speech made by my noble friend Lord Derwent was the lack of interest shown by local authority and county surveyors, or other people who make the requisite traffic orders, in stopping cross-country motorcycles or four-wheel drives, which are not only the great disturbers of the peace of footpaths, but are also worse than horses in churning them up.

If we are keen to go down the "quiet enjoyment" route, which we obviously are, this seems to me to be an eminently sensible way of reinforcing it. Furthermore, it is inconceivable that we should pass into law an Act which allows the regulation of a footpath to stop halfway up a mountain because of some obscure county boundary and a difference in traffic authority. It must be logical to do what my noble friend suggests, and I strongly support the amendment.

Lord Wise

The rights of way network in the national parks is, as the National Parks Review Panel argued, the most important single recreational resource". The network totals over 12,000 miles in the 10 original national parks plus the Broads. Thus it is necessary that, because of its scale and importance, the rights of way network has the most effective administration possible, and the amendments of my noble friend Lord Derwent seek to ensure that that happens in the way the panel recommended.

One of the central management challenges in the national parks is maintaining the rights of way network as visitor pressure increases, particularly on the more popular routes, including some of the long distance trails. That task takes up a large proportion of the resources of the national park authorities, which are best placed to address that challenge. It is therefore surprising that four national park authorities—the Brecon Beacons, the Peak District, the North Yorkshire Moors and Snowdonia—do not have the full range of responsibilities for public rights of way over all or parts of their areas.

The amendments seek to provide a consistent legislative logic across all the national parks, providing users of the rights of way network and others with an interest in it with a more direct means of contact and a better level of accountability once the national park authorities are freestanding.

Where national park authorities have had responsibility, they have demonstrated their fitness for the task and some now have more than two decades of experience of successfully managing rights of way. It is now time, especially in the light of local government reorganisation in England and Wales, to give all national park authorities responsibility for rights of way, as these amendments provide.

The level of support for the amendments embraces a wide spectrum of organisations. My noble friend Lord Derwent listed many of them. The Country Landowners' Association briefing states: The effectiveness of using national park resources to do this job has already been demonstrated". There must be confidence that the Department of the Environment and the Department of Transport will now co-operate closely to implement this most logical set of amendments.

Lord Renton

My noble friend Lord Derwent is right in what he suggests in Amendments Nos. 259B and 259C. However, I have some doubt as to whether Amendment No. 259A is really necessary. In paragraph 11 of the ninth schedule we find that the previous law under the Highways Act 1980, shall have effect as if references … to a local authority or council included references to a National Park authority and as if the relevant Park were the authority's area". I may be wrong about that, but that is how it seems to read.

Lord Derwent

I myself queried that. These powers do not govern either the mapping or the maintenance and management of the paths. They deal only with such matters as stopping them up and so on.

Lord Renton

I am much obliged to my noble friend. That brings me onto my next point, on which I speak with some experience. Under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, before any footpath or other right of way could be acknowledged in law as a right of way for the public, there had to be a judicial inquiry in front of the Quarter Sessions. Those proceedings were highly controversial. I never heard such hard swearing between old people of the same generation as one would find sometimes in those cases. There would be one old man who said that he had always been allowed to go there and pick blackberries or gather bird-nests. Another old man would say that he had tried to do so but had always been turned away. One generally found that there was some personal reason for the antagonism between the old people. The court sometimes had a very difficult decision to take. I speak from experience because I was retained by one of the East Anglian county councils in such cases under that Act. Has my noble friend Lord Ullswater any information on whether many cases are still likely to arise within the national parks in which the public right of way was disputed. If there are such cases, we must be quite sure that there will remain, after the Bill is passed into law, the opportunity for the people, old or young, to express their views on whether there is or is not a traditional right of way.

Having said all that, it is important that the various matters to which my noble friend Lord Derwent referred, once it is established that there is a right of way, should be carefully defined as a responsibility of the national park authority for each national park. Therefore, whether or not these amendments are vital, we deserve to have some clarification from my noble friend.

10.15 p.m.

Lord Marlesford

I would like very strongly and briefly to support the amendments of my noble friend Lord Derwent. It is absolutely crucial that the national parks should have the role referred to. It should be an integral part of the reform in order to allow them in their new form to do their job properly, particularly as regards general access and enjoyment of the parks—whether or not "quiet enjoyment" is concerned. I believe that if the Bill were to become an Act without that provision it would be very defective and a great opportunity would have been missed. I hope that my noble friend will support it.

Lord Williams of Elvel

I support the amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, in particular Amendment No. 259C. As I have explained on a previous occasion to the Committee, I have some experience of common land and the problems associated with enforcing rights of way on it. I believe that it is the same problem which exists as regards national parks.

I agree with the noble Lords, Lord Marlesford and Lord Derwent, that the national park authority should have authority. Nevertheless, there needs to be a clear definition of what is a footpath and what is a bridleway. In Amendment No. 259C there is reference to the road traffic regulations. In my experience bridleways are ways on which a horse can be ridden and not a motor-powered vehicle driven. I shall be grateful for the comments of the noble Viscount on this point. It is all very well to say that a bridleway which passes my house in Wales is only a bridleway and cannot be used by motor cars, motor cycles or four-wheeled vehicles but only by horses or horse-drawn vehicles. But it is very difficult to put that obligation on a national park authority when the definition of the bridleway is not observed by other local authorities.

I support these amendments, but I see certain difficulties in enforcing the matters that the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, has raised in Amendment No. 259C as regards road traffic regulations on rights of way.

Viscount Ullswater

Perhaps I may deal at the outset with the question of my noble friend Lord Renton. He asked me whether there were any cases in national parks where public rights of way are disputed. Without notice I cannot answer my noble friend. I shall write to him and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

I recognise the support that my noble friend Lord Derwent has secured for the amendments. I have every sympathy with what he is trying to achieve. In our policy statement Fit for the Future we recognise the importance of the rights of way network to national parks as elements in securing the promotion of the parks' enjoyment. It is acknowledged that visitors to the parks will expect properly maintained and signposted footpaths and bridleways as a touchstone of park authorities' commitment to their objectives. To achieve that we have also indicated that where highway authorities have not delegated rights of way management responsibilities to national park authorities we would invite them to do so. That remains our policy, and as part of the process for establishing the new authorities we shall be writing to each relevant highway authority asking it to consider positively its relationship to the new—

Lord Williams of Elvel

I am sorry to intervene at this stage, but the Minister mentioned the policy statement Fit for the Future. I take it that that is a different statement from the Edwards Panel statement which is also entitled Fit for the Future. Am I correct?

Viscount Ullswater

I believe that I am talking about the same statement.

To achieve this, we also indicated that, where highway authorities had not delegated rights of way management responsibilities to national park authorities, we would invite them to do so. That remains our policy, and as part of the process for establishing the new authorities, we shall be writing to each relevant highway authority asking it to consider positively its relationship to the new national park authorities and to enter into agency agreements to delegate rights of way work where that has not already been done. Those agreements will enable the national park authorities to continue to protect and promote recreational rights of way in a way which can be tailored to meet particular circumstances of the park.

We have, however, no plans for the time being to redistribute statutory responsibilities for the rights of way network to national park authorities, nor do we have any plans to give them the same powers as a traffic authority. Also, we do not consider it appropriate to amend the provisions regarding the preparation of definitive maps on a piecemeal basis.

Our reasons are that we believe the integrity of the highway network and its management should be maintained and that this should be through the mechanism of a common highway authority. The management of traffic at all levels needs to be considered comprehensively. Highway authorities and national park authorities will need to work together in close co-operation to ensure that this is so. We believe that this will be better achieved through the current institutional arrangements.

We recognise that there could be advantage in having more explicit traffic management policies, prepared by the highway authorities after close consultation with the national park authorities. Existing provisions, such as traffic regulation orders, offer considerable scope for imaginative schemes.

Noble Lords, and particularly the noble Lord, Lord Williams, who has indicated the problems, will be aware that the boundary between those highways marked on the definitive map as byways and a range of unclassified county roads without metalled surfaces is hazy. Furthermore, that boundary varies between areas and is subject to changes from time to time. Separate responsibilities between highway authorities and national park authorities may create confusion. Having said that, I hope that my noble friend will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

The Earl of Onslow

What happens if, when he has sent the invitation marked RSVP to the local authority, the local authority regrets very much that it is unable to attend the dinner party? What happens then?

Viscount Ullswater

I am afraid that I did not get the gist of my noble friend's remarks.

The Earl of Onslow

My noble friend said that he would invite local authorities to enter into traffic management agreements. If, seeing RSVP on the bottom of the invitation, they regret that they are unable to attend and do not co-operate, what happens then?

Viscount Ullswater

The whole point was that we would expect them to co-operate. We would ask them to do so. But we do not feel it right to take a power to make them do so.

Lord Williams of Elvel

I do not quite understand what the Minister is getting at. If a national park authority is to be a planning authority and if it is to be, in a sense, the authority that looks after the environment in its own area of the national park, it must surely have the same powers as a traffic authority to keep open the byways and bridleways. It must also have the power—it should have the power—to establish within its own park the relevant bridleways, byways and footpaths; otherwise it cannot protect the environment—

Lord Renton

I wonder whether I may suggest what I hope is a constructive way out of this. Surely a highway authority which has the responsibility for maintaining road surfaces and road signs should, even within a national park, continue to have that responsibility. I should have thought that the same would apply to highway authorities which are responsible for minor roads.

As regards rights of way such as bridlepaths and footpaths, is it not sensible that the national park authority, which is responsible for ensuring the preservation of all the other land within the national park, should have that responsibility? In other words, there would be a division of the public responsibilities involved.

Lord Williams of Elvel

The noble Lord, Lord Renton, has made an interesting and serious point with which I agree. Certainly, the national park authority must have responsibility for establishing what are the county roads, the bridleways, the rights of way and so forth. The noble Lord, Lord Renton, is right in saying that the national park authority should not have the responsibility for maintaining an asphalted road, a county road or whatever it might be.

I speak from experience in Wales. As regards many of the Welsh national parks, we do not know where the bridleways are. I do not live in a national park but I can tell the Committee that the bridleway which passes my house is not on the ordnance survey. However, old records show that there is a bridleway. I believe that the same is true in the Brecon Beacons national park.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Renton, that it need not necessarily be the national park authority which has the duty of maintaining such roads. However, the authority must have an obligation and a duty to establish exactly within its area what are the bridleways and paths in order that we can be certain about it.

Lord Derwent

I am advised that the roads about which we are speaking exclude metalled roads of the kind referred to by the noble Lords, Lord Renton and Lord Williams, and trunk roads. The Minister said that he recognised my success in drumming up support. Most of the organisations I listed earlier took the initiative in telephoning me to say that they had noticed that I had tabled the amendment and wished me to know that I had their full support. I draw attention to the fact that the list included the Association of Local Councils, which would be giving up the role, in addition to the national park officers, the Association of National Parks and so forth, which will be taking on the role.

All speakers have supported my position. Prior to the debate I went to some trouble to try to find an organisation connected with the issue which was not in favour. I wanted to hear the arguments against. The first voice that I have heard speak against the proposal is that of my noble friend the Minister. It is 10.28 p.m.; it would not be appropriate to divide the Committee tonight. However, I hope that the Minister will recognise that the support of a wide range of organisations outside the Committee, plus the heavy support I have received in the Committee, suggests that if on Report he is unable to return to the House having given further consideration to the matter—and I have taken his answer to mean no—it is almost inevitable that we shall have to test the opinion of the House.

The Minister talks about asking the authorities to delegate powers. But that is precisely what the Government have been doing since the Edwards Report. The fact is that many of them have simply refused to do so. There is no reason whatever to believe that another ministerial circular will encourage the authorities to change their minds. I hope that the Minister will at least throw out a crumb of comfort, indicating that without commitment he will take the matter away to his department and think again before the Report stage.

10.30 p.m.

Viscount Ullswater

Before my noble friend withdraws the amendment, which he indicated he would do because of the lateness of the hour, I should like to tell him and the Committee that I recognise the feeling in the House and I have listened to what has been said. Therefore, without commitment, I should like to go away and think again about this issue. Perhaps between now and Report, my noble friend and I could discuss the matter to see whether there is a way forward.

Lord Derwent

I am grateful to my noble friend. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 259B to 260 not moved.]

Schedule 9 agreed to.

Clauses 67 to 69 agreed to.

Lord Elis-Thomas

moved Amendment No. 260A: Before Clause 70, insert the following new clause: ("Management of National Parks and other sites The functions of the control and management of each National Park authority, set out in section 61 above, or those of National Nature Reserves or Sites of Special Scientific Interest designated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, shall be carried out in each case wholly by the relevant conservation agency, namely the National Park authority, or English Nature, Scottish National Heritage, or the Countryside Council for Wales, except where specific management agreements have been or will be negotiated with owners or occupiers of such designated areas under section 15 of the Countryside Act 1968 or under section 132 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990."). The noble Lord said: The purpose of the proposed new clause is to ensure the continued effective management of national parks, national nature reserves and SSSIs by the relevant conservation agencies or authorities in the public sector except where there are specific negotiated agreements with owners or occupiers.

The reason for tabling the amendment will be well known to Members of the Committee and to all of us who are concerned within the environment movement generally about the proposals, which have received substantial press coverage—and I refer to them as proposals—that certain nature reserves and conservation activities might have been transferred from the current Management to other forms of management at the behest of the right honourable John Redwood, the Secretary of State for Wales.

I shall not speak at any length on this because I shall give the Minister the opportunity to put the Government's side of the case, and I look forward with interest to hearing that. It seems to me that an interesting scenario has emerged whereby the present Secretary of State for Wales has revived proposals which were floated by a previous Secretary of State for the Environment, the late Lord Ridley, and that those proposals were then put upon—and I say it in those terms—the Countryside Council for Wales. The way in which those proposals were pursued was to curtail severely the public expenditure allocation of that council for the next financial year. The cut of £3.7 million in the budget of the council has been referred to already in this Chamber both at Question Time and also in our earlier debates on the Environment Bill.

Nothing has been said to me from the government Front Bench in this Chamber or, so far as I have seen from the record, in the other place to put our minds at rest. Indeed, it was not the intention of the Secretary of State, as it was reported in the press the weekend before last, to pursue objectives which would have transferred the management of those valuable sites from the public to the private sector, or at least to other forms of management which might have included forms of contractorisation. I am well aware that the Secretary of State appeared at a press conference on 31st January. I quote from a Hysbysiad l'r Wasg, Y Swyddfa Gymreig, and because of the hour, I quote the English version. It states: "I want everyone to be clear about my objectives and my priorities,' said Mr. Redwood. '1 have no plans for privatising nature reserves, nor any wish to halt the valuable work of the Countryside Council for Wales'". The press release continues: I want it to concentrate on improving the management of protected areas". What does the Secretary of State mean by talking about the improved management "of protected areas"? Many of us who have lived, walked and loved such areas for a quarter of a century regard them as being extremely well managed by the national park authorities, by the owners and by the lessors of those sites. Indeed, that applies also to the scientific expertise of the Countryside Council and its predecessor authority the Nature Conservancy Council in Wales, which, as I have said before, was effectively directed by a colleague of mine who is now in the private sector, Dr. Tom Pritchard. In that connection, I declare an interest as someone who is a director of a private environmental consultancy who would perhaps benefit were the Secretary of State to carry out his proposal.

Therefore, I am speaking in favour of the principle and, in a sense, against my own interest in saying that those valuable sites should be maintained in perpetuity within public sector management and control. It is possible that there are ways in which the public sector management of those sites can be made more effective as the Secretary of State implies, but it is important for us to know how that would happen. In other words, whether it would mean transfers of functions between existing conservation bodies, between park authorities and other public sector bodies; or, indeed, whether it might involve the further activity of the National Trust, the North Wales Wildlife Trust or of any such bodies. It must not mean that those sites are transferred out of public control and management. In my view, that could only be detrimental.

As we have already heard in this Chamber this evening, the Countryside Council is highly regarded both in Wales and internationally within the conservation field because of the way that it has managed to integrate the activities of conservation and countryside management. The key to that lies in being able to call upon the public sector management skills—the scientific skills, the wardenship skills, and the access-control skills. All of them are available in that organisation. In the way that it is able to oversee the management of such sites, it has made a unique contribution to conservation policies.

Therefore, I hope that we shall receive reassurances from the Government Bench this evening and that, if necessary, the Department of the Environment will convey the message from this Chamber to the Secretary of State for Wales. I know that the Government may say that it is quite right for Wales to have different policies if it so desires. Of course, we all believe that; but the policies in Wales must not be worse than the policies in England. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Elvel

The noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas has raised a most important point. Perhaps I may declare my own interest, yet again, as President of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales. I believe that we need a clear answer from the Government on the matters raised by the noble Lord. It is said in the Welsh press that the Secretary of State for Wales is about to dismember the Countryside Council for Wales. It is said that there is a serious personality conflict between the Secretary of State and the chairman of that body; and it is said that, certainly, the budget for CCW has been reduced. Moreover, I believe that I am right to mention what the Secretary of State for Wales said; namely, that many of the things that the Countryside Council for Wales does at present could be done in the private sector.

We need a clear statement from the Government. I suggest that the Government should make a clear statement this evening on exactly what are the Government's intentions over CCW; and, indeed, on the other matters to which the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, referred.

Viscount Ullswater

I am afraid to say that when I read the amendment I had to scratch my head quite hard in an attempt to understand what the noble Lord is seeking to achieve. The functions and duties of the national park authorities are clearly set out in Clause 61. We do not think that the noble Lord's amendment adds to it in any way. As I read it, the effect of the amendment—and I listened carefully to what the noble Lord said—would be to place a duty on the nature conservation bodies, as mentioned in the wording, to manage land within national nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest not subject to a specific management agreement under Section 15 of the Countryside Act 1968. This would be contrary to the voluntary principle which underpins all government policy for the conservation of wildlife habitat, which is based on co-operation of the landowners and reflects government policy not to extend bureaucracy unnecessarily. Provisions for voluntary management agreements are in place. There are long stops, including compulsory purchase to protect nationally and internationally important sites, but the voluntary principle is the keystone to holding up the Government's habitat conservation policies.

From the press, certainly, I understand that the intentions of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales were misrepresented. Within the overall requirements to maintain the management of nature reserves and SSSIs, it may be possible for a greater number to be managed by elected local authorities, as I believe many are already. I understand that the noble Lord is concerned about the deterioration of some of these sites, but I believe that this measure would be a very bureaucratic way of addressing that concern. As I said, it is very much against the voluntary principle which I sought to press upon the noble Lord. In that case I hope he will be prepared to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Elis-Thomas

I am grateful for the partial reassurance that we have had from the Government this evening. I would, however, request that the Minister look again at my remarks and those of the official spokesman for the Labour Opposition, the noble Lord, Lord Williams, on this matter, because there has been concern that there were proposals to transfer activity away from the Countryside Council, possibly to the private sector, and that this would involve the transfer of the management of specific sites. The voluntary principle is certainly one which I approve as part of the conservation activity. What I do not approve of is a commercial principle in this whole area. If the Minister is telling us this evening that it is not the intention of his right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales to transfer any conservation sites within Wales to any form of commercial management, that would be a satisfactory reassurance.

I am not entirely reassured by the proposal about transfer to local authorities for the simple reason that we are at the moment in the middle of a local government reorganisation. It may well be that local authorities may be able to take on additional responsibilities at some date, but no function currently carried out or site supervised or any activity grant aided by the Countryside Council for Wales should be handed over to any other body, public or private, unless that organisation is able to carry out the work more effectively; or to manage it more effectively, or is able to take on the responsibility and has sufficient staff to do so. It seems to me that that is not the case now with local authorities.

We have just been debating the position of access through bridleways and footpaths, and the network of access—precisely an issue where local authorities in many areas have not been able to carry out their responsibilities. As vice-president of the Ramblers in Wales I am well aware of the deficiencies in that whole area. How can we possibly think, and how can the Minister's right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales think, that a transfer of conservation, and habitat conservation particularly, at this moment to other bodies, particularly local authorities, can be more effective? I believe there is a real danger that the Countryside Council for Wales may not be able to carry out its statutory duties in habitat conservation under European and UK legislation if the cuts proposed by his right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales are implemented. I ask him to send the message to his colleagues, as strongly as possible, that that must not happen.

We shall want to return to the issue at a later stage of the Bill. However, on the basis of the partial assurances we have received this evening and the messages we are trying to send from this Chamber to the other department concerned, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

10.45 p.m.

Clause 70 [Powers to make orders]:

Baroness Hamwee

moved Amendment No. 261: Page 75, line 12, leave out from ("instrument") to end of line 13 and insert ("and no order contained in any such instrument shall be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament."). The noble Baroness said: The amendment was put down following the recommendation of the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee. I shall move the amendment, but only in order to ask the Minister to confirm that the answer that he gave to the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, during the debate on the Motion that Clause 60 should stand part of the Bill also applies to Clause 63, which was also the subject of the committee's comments.

The Minister spoke of the powers meaning "incidental, supplemental" and other provisions. Clause 70(3) states that the powers will "include" powers to make such provisions. It seemed to me as I listened to the Minister that he may not have taken account of the word "include", which suggests to me that there are other powers in addition to those which are listed. I shall understand if the Minister finds it difficult to respond to that particular point at this hour. I beg to move.

Viscount Ullswater

I can understand the concern of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, in the light of the report of the Select Committee on the scrutiny of delegated powers, which advised that this Chamber may wish to consider whether the affirmative procedure would be more appropriate in relation to the powers under Clauses 60 and 63. I hope that I can satisfy the Committee that those clauses are inherently sufficiently restrictive to make the negative procedure acceptable. I shall do so by reference to points which enabled the committee to conclude when it considered the same provisions in the National Parks Bill, introduced by my noble friend Lord Norrie, that, as the Bill's provisions will have effect only within or for the purposes of National Parks, and are very narrowly prescribed, it is not unreasonable for those powers to be subject to the negative resolution procedure". We consider that to enable the Secretary of State to provide for the establishment of national park authorities by order is the most practicable way of proceeding, as I said to the noble Lord, Lord Williams. It is unlikely that all the national park authorities will be established at the same time. Therefore, as the timing may differ the circumstances of each park will need individual consideration to identify the provisions required in connection with the winding up of the existing body. Thus, we believe that in order to facilitate a smooth transition from the existing authorities to new authorities, powers to make incidental, supplemental, consequential and transitional provisions are essential.

The provisions in Clauses 60 and 63 will have effect only within or for the purposes of national parks and are very narrowly prescribed. The noble Lord, Lord Williams, will be aware that we accepted the positive resolution procedure under Amendment No. 241A, but the situation under Clause 70 is quite different from that under the new Section 78H of the Environmental Protection Act. That new section gives the Secretary of State the power to increase by order the maximum level of fine payable under subsection (1) of that section, and we have accepted that that should be subject to the positive resolution procedure. However, the purpose of Clause 70 is quite different. It provides for those incidental, supplemental, consequential and transitional purposes to be used only in connection with the primary power.

I believe that most of the words that I said regarding Clause 60 apply equally here. I hope, therefore, that the noble Baroness will allow Clause 70 to stand part of the Bill.

Baroness Hamwee

I accept that. I am not sure whether the Minister wishes to deal with the question that I raised on the term "include". With regard to the hour of the night—it is now 10 minutes to 11—I shall be happy to take up the matter after today's Committee stage.

Viscount Ullswater

I shall write to the noble Baroness.

Baroness Hamwee

I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 262 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Clause 70 agreed to.

Clauses 71 to 73 agreed to.

Schedule 10 [Minor and consequential amendments relating to National Parks]:

Viscount Ullswater

moved Amendment No. 262A: Page 157, line 40, leave out from ("inserted") to end of line 41 and insert (""(and, as respects land within the Broads, any reference in this section to the relevant authority is accordingly a reference to the Broads Authority).""). On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 10, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 74 agreed to.

The Earl of Lindsay

I beg to move that the House be now resumed.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

House adjourned at seven minutes before eleven o'clock.