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Clause 56 - Procedure for orders designating National Parks

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:00 am on 30th June 2005.

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Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity) 9:00 am, 30th June 2005

I beg to move amendment:

No. 151, in clause 56, page 22, line 3, at end insert—

‘or

(b)in relation to an order designating a National Park in Wales, a community council.’

Thank you and good morning, Mr. Forth. It is not quite as good a morning as those we have enjoyed during the Committee’s previous sittings, but the rain is welcome.

This is a technical amendment extending to Wales the provision that objections from parish or community councils alone will not be sufficient automatically to trigger a public inquiry. This is another of those occasions when I wanted to table the amendment before the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire (Mr. Williams) did so. I hope that it is clear to the Committee that it was an oversight that we did not properly account for the situation in Wales, which was to some extent brought about by the extent of our consultation with our colleagues in Wales and waiting for them to be clear about what they wanted us to do in the Bill. I hope that the Committee will accept the amendment.

Photo of Roger Williams Roger Williams Opposition Whip (Commons)

I hope that the poorer weather is not a harbinger of less productive or constructive debate this morning.

I welcome the amendment; my only question is whether this part of the Bill refers to variations in national park boundaries or just to designation of new national parks. Variations in national park boundaries are particularly contentious in some national parks, not least Brecon Beacons national park.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity)

To some extent, I am moving to my notes on clause stand part, Mr. Forth, with your indulgence. The clause makes small modifications to the process of designating national parks, requiring parish councils to be consulted before the Countryside Agency, which will become Natural England, makes an order. It essentially corrects the out-of-date terminology for other tiers of local government.

The amendment removes the requirement to hold a public inquiry rather than a hearing if a parish council objects, although an inquiry would be required if there   were objections from other tiers. It removes a redundant provision to enable consideration of designation alongside that of development plans.

I hope that that answers the hon. Gentleman’s question.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 56, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.