National Parks

Oral Answers to Questions — Land and Natural Resources – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th March 1965.

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Photo of Sir Timothy Kitson Sir Timothy Kitson , Richmond (Yorks) 12:00 am, 8th March 1965

asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources (1) if he will introduce legislation to reorganise the structure and functions of national park planning authorities; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will institute an inquiry to consider what financial assistance is required to help the national parks authorities to carry out their duties to better effect.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

I am reviewing the proposals that have been made for amending the legislation governing national parks. This review includes proposals affecting the structure and the functions of national park planning authorities. I am considering the question of financial assistance as part of this review and I shall not be in a position to make a statement until the necessary consultations are completed.

Photo of Sir Timothy Kitson Sir Timothy Kitson , Richmond (Yorks)

When is the Minister likely to introduce some of this legislation? Does he not agree that the time is coming when, if we are to maintain the beauty of the national parks, the responsibility should fall on the nation and not upon those people living in them, who often find it a very heavy burden living in the national parks because of some of the decisions of the national parks authority?

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

I appreciate the hon. Member's attitude towards national parks. Obviously there will not be legislation this Session, but one hopes that it will be produced as soon as possible.

Photo of Mr Frederick Corfield Mr Frederick Corfield , Gloucestershire South

Will the right hon. Gentleman assure us that when he considers legislation he will bear in mind the desirability of having a single planning authority for each national park, even though it crosses the boundaries of various planning authorities? Will he at the same time ensure that the joint planning boards or whatever are set up will be truly representative of the people who live in the national parks as well?

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

I appreciate that point of view, but the hon. Member will not expect me to make a statement until I have completed consultations with the bodies affected.

Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , South Shields

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that it was the Conservative Party who imposed these wretched advisory committees for national parks in place of the boards which ought to have been there all the time?

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

I am aware that there is a good deal of dissatisfaction with the present position.

Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , South Shields

asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources if he will ensure that national park planning authorities have both the staff and the resources to enable them to carry out their duties under the National Parks Act.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

As my hon. Friend is aware, I am studying the proposals that have been put forward by himself and others for legislation to amend the National Parks Act. These proposals contain suggestions for improving the existing arrangements for equipping national park planning authorities to carry out their functions and I assure my hon. Friend that this point will receive my most active and sympathetic attention.

Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , South Shields

While welcoming my right hon. Friend's reply, may I ask him to keep clearly in mind the fact that our national parks without staff to do anything about development and proper use are something of a farce and that some hon. Gentlemen opposite made definite proposals 13 years ago about which they never did anything?

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

Yes. I can assure my hon. Friend that I am not only considering legislation but am also considering whether it is necessary to take steps meanwhile.

Photo of Mr Frederick Corfield Mr Frederick Corfield , Gloucestershire South

Is the right hon. Gentleman now in a position to answer the Question which we was unable to answer on Tuesday night and tell the House who pays the staff of the National Parks Commission?