HC Deb 26 January 1978 vol 942 cc705-6W
Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he has taken to ensure that public bodies manage land which they hold in national parks in such a way as to make a positive contribution to national park purposes.

Mr. Denis Howell

In association with the Under-Secretary of State for Wales, I have written to the chairmen of public land-holding bodies sponsored by our two Departments, and to my right hon. and hon. Friends in other Departments which have significant land-holdings or which sponsor other public land-holding bodies. I have drawn attention to the desirability of co-operation with the national park authorities so that public land can be managed in the light of the national park plans. In particular, I have suggested a review of the extent to which management of such land can make a positive contribution to the purposes of the park, including access; that without prejudice to the body's primary statutory function it should consciously seek to protect wild life, safeguard the natural beauty of the landscape, and wherever possible open up areas for public informal recreation; and that when any substantial new management action or physical development is contemplated the national park authority should be consulted at an early stage. A list of the bodies and Departments approached is below. I have already had a number of very encouraging replies.

Forestry Commission.

  • The Regional Water Authorities (with copy to Chairmen of Water Space Amenity Commission).
  • British Waterways Board (with copy to Secretary of Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council).
  • Nature Conservancy Council.
  • The Treasury (in respect of the Crown Estate and Duchy of Cornwall).
  • The Duchy of Lancaster.
  • Ministry of Defence.
  • Department of Transport.
  • Ministry of Agriculture.

The correspondence has also been drawn to the attention of the Chairman of the National Trust.