Purposes of National Parks

Part of Clause 60 – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 28th June 1995.

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Photo of Mrs Anne Campbell Mrs Anne Campbell , Cambridge 8:30 pm, 28th June 1995

My hon. Friend makes an extremely valuable point. I should not have allowed myself to be deflected by the hon. Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Ainsworth) whose argument is often produced by those who favour field sports. Their case is that the only people who can possibly oppose them are those who were born and brought up in towns. That is obviously false and I am glad that my hon. Friend has given me the chance to make that clear.

The promotion of quiet enjoyment does not give national parks authorities any new powers to control noisy activities, much as some people would like to do that. It simply provides a context for the management of national parks in circumstances where conflicts between different types of recreation arise. We must see that in context.

The Labour party accepts that the present wording in clause 60 may not be ideal, but there would have been enormous value in inserting a definition that gave some precision to the words "quiet enjoyment". I find it difficult to believe that the parliamentary counsel and lawyers could not come up with something that would have been viewed as reasonable by a large percentage of the population.

The removal of the word "quiet" at this stage represents the worst of all possible outcomes. The Government are seen not only to be vacillating on the issue, but to be presenting a message to the outside world that they have abandoned the promotion of quiet enjoyment. That will be far more unpopular than they realise.