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I thank the Minister for responding to the request that I and other Members representing the Peak park made by striking the right balance in terms of future membership of the authority. Is he aware, however, of the growing concern among Peak district farmers, in the light of the Secretary of State's announcement on
Given that the hon. Gentleman moved on very rapidly from the national park authority to other issues, it is clear that I have satisfied him on that front. Detailed regulations and other work needs to be done before these matters can be finalised. As he will know from earlier exchanges, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State fully understands the challenges that certain parts of the farming industry face, and it is clear that some of those fall within national park authority areas.
Will my right hon. Friend make sure that in composing the national park board, outside users, particularly those in Sheffield and Manchester, are fairly represented on it, especially given that many of them use the park as walkers, rock-climbers and tourists?
I am happy to underline the fact that national parks are a national asset. It is obviously right that there should be local representation, and engagement with local representatives and local authorities that are directly affected. That is why the final figure for the Peak district was rather higher than that for other authorities. Of course, some of those representatives represent urban areas as well as park areas. We will shortly renew and refresh the remit for national parks, as recommended in the recent review, and in doing so we will underline the existing range of interests, including those of the users to whom my hon. Friend refers.
As the Minister knows, part of my constituency lies within the Peak park. Following up the highly relevant question from my hon. Friend Mr. McLoughlin, are livestock farmers being properly represented within the Peak park authority, and will the Minister take seriously the issues raised by my farmers in the Peak park in the light of the recent Government announcement? In their view—a view shared by their representatives and by me—farming in the severely disadvantaged marginal and hill areas will come to an end. That would be a disaster for farming and for our economy.
We have a template for considering, through the Secretary of State's appointees, representation on the national park authorities. That template takes into account farming and landowning interests, as well as those of users. In addition, all national park authorities provide representation—through parish councils, for example—for those with a direct farming interest. In every case, the interests of farmers within the landscape of the national parks are important. The Peak park involves a particularly complex set of relationships, and we do understand the connection between support for farmers and farming's impact on the landscape.