§ Lord Newall
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What countryside initiatives have been announced following the recent publication of the White Paper, This Common Inheritance.
§ Baroness Blatch
: Last week the Countryside Commission announced the site of the ancient Needwood and Charnwood forests as their preferred location for a new national forest in the Midlands. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has promised that the scheme will receive government assistance and that work on the forest will start next year. This will be an important contribution to a national drive to increase the area of our country made up of woodlands.
400WA My right honourable friend has also announced that from next year he will be starting a new national countryside initiative in which the Countryside Commission will offer payments to landowners and farmers to manage and protect those parts of our countryside under heavy pressure from visitors. This new initiative will ensure that areas like the heritage coasts of Northumbria, the lands along our river banks, the flower-rich chalk grasslands of the North Downs and the lowland heaths of Dorset and Suffolk are protected for the enjoyment of this and future generations.