HC Deb 03 March 1987 vol 111 cc562-3W
44. Mr. Adley

asked the Paymaster General if he will make a statement on (a) the employment and (b) the tourism consequences of the recent changes in Government policy on land use.

Mr. Trippier

The draft circular on development involving agricultural land, which was published on 9 February by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, proposes that in deciding development proposals affecting agricultural land the agricultural implications should be considered together with, the environmental and economic aspects; and that full regard should be had both to the need to promote economic activity that provides jobs and to the need to protect green belts, national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and other areas of good countryside. The draft circular has been sent to the local authority associations, business organisations and others, seeking comments by 10 April.

The revised policy should frequently make it easier than under the present policy (which was narrowly focused on the protection of land for agricultural purposes) to permit environmentally acceptable development. Proposals in the tourism sector are often necessarily of that character. The encouragement given by the draft circular to the re-use of redundant agricultural buildings and the lifting of agricultural occupancy conditions which have outlived their usefulness are likely to be of particular assistance to developments for tourism purposes.

More generally, the preservation of the countryside depends upon creating the conditions in which the enterprise of individuals can be translated into jobs and prosperity in the rural economy.