HC Deb 05 November 1980 vol 991 cc610-1W
Mr. Peter Mills

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when the Government expect to reach conclusions on the review of camping and caravanning policy on which his Department issued a consultation document in August 1978.

Mr. Heseltine

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have decided to accept the proposition that there should be a unified system of control over the use of sites for tents and touring caravans and to seek legislation to this end at a suitable opportunity. The number of caravans which can be stationed on agricultural land having an area of not less than 5 acres (2 hectares) for not more than 28 days in each period of 12 months without need for a site licence will be increased from three to five. This limit will apply also to tents except that special provision will be made for the needs of back-packing expeditions in open countryside.

There will also be a new issue of certificates of exemption under paragraph 12 of the first schedule to the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960.

Existing holders of certificates, and those recreational organisations who have applied for exemptions, will be permitted to hold caravan rallies of not more than five days' duration without the need for planning permission and a site licence but subject to new conditions including some specially related to the number of rallies held in sensitive areas of national parks.

In areas subject to very heavy camping and caravanning demand in summer we hope that local authorities will work jointly and constructively to facilitate the provisions of additional licensed sites at suitable locations.

A statement of the conclusions has been placed in the Library of the House. They do not necessitate any increase in public expenditure.