HL Deb 22 March 1999 vol 598 cc134-5WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will now require the Royal Parks Agency to conduct appropriate cost-benefit analyses of the commercial activities which it is allowed to conduct in the Royal Parks, including particularly the costs of any environmental and social degradation involved; and [HL1465]

What consultations they held, and with whom, when they decided to go against their commitments, undertaken in the light of the Jenkins Reports on the Royal Parks, to restrict the commercialisation of the Royal Parks; and whether they will now consult with all the bodies who were consulted by the Jenkins Commission; and [HL1466]

Why, while they consulted the public over proposals to construct a memorial garden to Diana, Princess of Wales, in Kensington Gardens, they have not consulted the public over their plans for the commercialisation of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens; and whether they will now do so. [HL1467]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The Government want to see the Royal Parks, which are a great national asset, used for more events both to attract a greater range of visitors and to increase income for investment in the fabric of the parks. An increase in the number of events proposed for the Royal Parks this summer can, we believe, be undertaken without undermining the principles in the reports of the Royal Parks Review Group, chaired by Dame Jennifer Jenkins, or our own commitment to restricting commercialisation of the Royal Parks.

We shall, of course, review the impact of the 1999 season in due course, but it is not evident what purpose would be served by a formal cost-benefit analysis of the kind suggested, even if it were possible.

Consultations on the preliminary proposals for a garden to commemorate Diana, Princess of Wales, were undertaken because of the high level of public interest and because they would permanently affect the fabric of Kensington Gardens. Concerts in the Royal Parks are a familiar part of the summer season in London and the proposed increase in their number will have only a temporary, occasional effect which does not merit such extensive consultation. Nonetheless, the Royal Parks Agency has discussed its proposed programme of events with the relevant authorities and informed Friends' Groups of its plans.