HC Deb 17 June 1999 vol 333 c201W
Mr. Burns

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has had with English Nature on the environmental impact of a right to roam in(a) national nature reserves, (b) Ramsar sites, (c) special protection areas under the EU Birds Directive, (d) special areas of conservation under the EU Habitats Directive, (e) sites of special scientific interest and (f) other environmentally sensitive areas. [86421]

Mr. Meacher

[holding answer 14 June 1999]Before reaching our decision to legislate for a new statutory right of access to open countryside, we consulted a wide range of organisations, including English Nature. In addition to that, I have regular quarterly meetings with English Nature, where we have exchanged views on the Government's access proposals.

Access on foot is generally compatible with the conservation of wildlife. Indeed, many sites protected under national and international legislation are already open to public access. However, we recognise that restrictions on access may, in some cases, be necessary to protect particular wildlife interests. We shall, therefore, be looking to English Nature to provide advice on the need for closures and restrictions on conservation grounds.

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