Purposes of National Parks

Part of Clause 60 – in the House of Commons at 8:15 pm on 28th June 1995.

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Photo of Mr Kenneth Carlisle Mr Kenneth Carlisle , Lincoln 8:15 pm, 28th June 1995

This is an important amendment. There has been considerable debate about the issue and about the meaning of the word "quiet" during the Committee stage and even before that. I understand the Government's predicament. What is important is not necessarily the words in the Bill, but what happens in the national parks. We must consider how we will preserve for the future the quality of national parks and the traditional activities that take place within them.

We all know that rallies have been held in national parks and that grouse shooting certainly goes on in some parks, which helps to maintain the habitat of the moorland. I have been informed by the National Trust that it organises certain pre-arranged noisy activities which it feels it is able to manage in the national park environment. The Government face a genuine problem because it may be argued that none of those activities could be described as "quiet", even though they have been held in national parks for a long time.

We must decide how to retain the quality of national parks while allowing traditional activities to continue. It is extremely difficult to define the word "quiet" in those circumstances, so perhaps we should look for another solution. We should not be hidebound by that word, but we must look for some way of preserving the quiet atmosphere in national parks.

The National Trust has suggested that traditional activities—although they may be noisy—should be accepted and that new activities that are very obtrusive should be excluded. My hon. Friend does not necessarily need to defend those traditional activities, but he must address how to control the really obtrusive and intolerable activities which destroy the quality of national parks and which prevent people from enjoying the parks. There must be some means of doing that. Therefore, when he replies to the debate, I ask my hon. Friend to explain how he plans to stop the truly intolerable activities that destroy the special qualities of our valued national parks.