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Lord Renton: Before my noble friend concludes, I wonder whether he will allow me to intervene. I can well understand anyone wanting to establish a principle. However, I would ask him to bear in mind that we will be amending a Bill. Surely it is a bad way to establish a Bill to amend it in such a way, as has been shown by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, to be wrong

2 Feb 1995 : Column 1611

in law. If we are going to establish a principle by some innocent amendment, by all means let us do so, but not by one which gives rise to a patent legal difficulty.

Lord Norrie: It is a question of principle. I feel that we have between now and the time when the Bill goes down to another place to get this right. Therefore, I wish to test the opinion of the Committee.

4.49 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 253) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 129; Not-Contents, 121.

Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Addison, V.
Ailesbury, M.
Airedale, L.
Allen of Abbeydale, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Avebury, L.
Barber of Tewkesbury, L.
Bath, M.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Birk, B.
Blackstone, B.
Bridges, L.
Broadbridge, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L.
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Chester, Bp.
Chorley, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
David, B.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Denham, L.
Desai, L.
Diamond, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Ennals, L.
Ezra, L.
Falkender, B.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Foot, L.
Gallacher, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Gladwyn, L.
Glasgow, E.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller.]
Grey, E.
Halsbury, E.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haskel, L.
Healey, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollick, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooson, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hunt, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Jacques, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Judd, L.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kintore, E.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Lockwood, B.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Macaulay of Bragar, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McNair, L.
Methuen, L.
Milverton, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Moran, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mulley, L.
Munster, E.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nelson, E.
Nicol, B.
Norrie, L. [Teller.]
Northbourne, L.
Ogmore, L.
Peston, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Richard, L.
Ritchie of Dundee, L.
Robson of Kiddington, B.
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury, L.
Sandford, L.
Seear, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Serota, B.
Shannon, E.
Shepherd, L.
Stallard, L.
Stedman, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Coslany, L.
Walpole, L.
White, B.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.

NOT-CONTENTS

Aberdare, L.
Ackner, L.
Ailsa, M.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Annaly, L.
Astor, V.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Blyth, L.
Boardman, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Burnham, L.
Butterworth, L.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chelmsford, V.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Cochrane of Cults, L.
Coleridge, L.
Courtown, E.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Davidson, V.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Derwent, L.
Digby, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Ferrers, E.
Feversham, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gage, V.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Gisborough, L.
Goschen, V.
Gray, L.
Greenway, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harlech, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Harrowby, E.
Henley, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Inchyra, L.
Inglewood, L. [Teller.]
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kimball, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Lauderdale, E.
Lawrence, L.
Leigh, L.
Lindsay, E.
Liverpool, E.
Long, V.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lucas, L.
Lyell, L.
Lytton, E.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Macleod of Borve, B.
May, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Mills, V.
Monk Bretton, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Mottistone, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Northesk, E.
Onslow, E.
Orkney, E.
Orr-Ewing, L.
Oxfuird, V.
Peel, E.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Pike, B.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Renton, L.
Rodger of Earlsferry, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Stewartby, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Sudeley, L.
Swansea, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Vinson, L.
Vivian, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wharton, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Wynford, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

2 Feb 1995 : Column 1613

4.58 p.m.

Earl Peel moved Amendment No. 254:


Page 64, line 30, at end insert ("; and
(c) of promoting the economic and social well-being of local communities within those areas.").

The noble Earl said: Although Amendment No. 260 is grouped with this amendment, I am intending to speak only to Amendment No. 254 and not Amendment No. 260 at this stage. I begin by saying how much I welcome in Clause 59 of the Bill the fact that a National Park authority,


    "shall have regard to the economic and social well-being of local communities within the National Park".

However, from my experience of having lived and managed land in a park for the past 25 years and taking into account the two purposes of the national parks—that is to say,


    "conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage",

and promoting opportunities for public enjoyment—I do not consider that simply to "have regard to" in this matter goes far enough.

I do not think that I am exaggerating when I say that there is a great deal of dissatisfaction and frustration among many people living and working within the national parks who feel that their interests are at times ignored and often sacrificed unnecessarily for other interests. There is a feeling that the local presence is not accepted as being as important as that of the visitors who come to the park and then leave and whose contribution to the very heart and soul of the national parks is comparatively negligible. Those who form part of the national park communities are undoubtedly an essential ingredient of what the parks are all about. I believe that their interests should be treated on a basis that is at least equal to the way in which we treat the interests of those who visit the parks. Having said that, it is right that all interests in the park should adhere to what has become known as the "Sandford principle" —that is, to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of those areas, as specifically mentioned in the Bill. Given the right incentives, who better to do that than those who live and work in those areas?

I am sure that Members of the Committee are aware—although I suspect that many are not—that by far and away the majority of land in the national parks in England and Wales is privately owned. The national parks in this country are not similar to those in the United States. Therefore, it is essential that the local communities who live and work in the parks have confidence in the authority. It is a partnership—and a partnership clearly has to work both ways.

Under the Bill, the park authorities have considerable new powers, including new planning powers and the powers, subject to instruction from the Secretary of State, to produce a structure plan. Those powers are bound to have a considerable bearing on local interests

2 Feb 1995 : Column 1614

and economic well-being. It therefore seems essential that the local communities should have every right to be treated equally with those other interests which the park authorities exist to promote.

I know that it is argued that there are other agencies and, indeed, government departments already promoting local interests. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food does a lot of work on the farming side through various incentive schemes which undoubtedly help the local farming community. That is in addition to the subsidies which many farmers receive. There is also the Rural Development Commission which is under the chairmanship of my noble friend Lord Shuttleworth, who has asked me to apologise for the fact that he is not able to be present in Committee today. He has told me that he very much supports the amendment.

I believe that it can be argued equally that there are agencies and government departments promoting the interests of conservation and public enjoyment. On the conservation front, there is English Nature, with its new obligations towards the habitat directive, as well as the existing SSSIs and the grants that are available. There are also the environmentally sensitive areas—the ESAs—which, with MAFF, have done so much to enhance the well-being of local habitats and, indeed, to support the local community and farmers. On the public enjoyment front, there are the Countryside Commission and the tourist boards. Where do we draw the line? To say that one particular aspect of national park duties is promoted by various different agencies and that another is not is simply not the case. They are all supported in different ways.

Of course, it is right to give the public an opportunity to share the beauty of the parks. Of course, it is essential that the beauty of the parks is conserved for everyone. But I believe that the third leg of the stool is equally important—I refer to the well-being and the skills of the local community. I also appreciate that many feel that the resources that are available to the national parks are simply not sufficient to enable them to carry out that duty. But it could also be argued that the money that is available to the national parks does not go very far as regards conservation issues and that other agencies have promoted conservation to a far greater extent than the national parks. So it is not just a simple question of resources. It is a question of attitude of mind as much as anything else. It is a matter of giving the local people confidence that the national parks are looking after their interests as much as other interests. I believe that the national parks must both think local and act local, and I believe that my amendment would achieve that. I beg to move.


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