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Lord Marlesford: My Lords, I believe we all agree that it is important to get this amendment right in one form or another. Inserting the words "quiet enjoyment" was useful in reinforcing the Bill in carrying out one of the essential themes of Edwards. We had difficulty in Committee, possibly caused by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner. I am not a lawyer, like some who have spoken, but I had the impression that somehow he felt that the words "quiet enjoyment" had a well-established common law meaning which may not be appropriate in a statute. Unfortunately, he is not here to help us further tonight.
Setting that aside, assuming that for that reason or others, we need a definition, I prefer the one put down by the noble Lord, Lord Barber and myself, except for the frightful word "quietude", which I cut out. Perhaps I may put the word of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, "tranquillity" in place of "quietude" and then we would have a useful definition. We need quiet enjoyment in the Bill as a concept; it must be in the statute. Secondly, if it needs to be defined, let it be defined and let us at least say that it is a starting point. My impression is that the Government are well seized of the desirability of what we have been talking about and will help us, if not tonight, at some later stage.
Lord Norrie: My Lords, I wish to add my strong support for Amendment No. 178D in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Barber, and my noble friend Lord Marlesford. In addition, I am interested in Amendment No. 178C in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton. I have had less opportunity to study it, but I understand it to be probing. It is a constructive contribution.
As noble Lords will know, I brought forward an amendment in Committee to make it clear that national parks should promote quiet enjoyment. I was worried that as it stood the Bill required the parks to promote all kinds of enjoyment, even noisy and intrusive activities. Noble Lords agreed that the Bill should be amended in that way.
There was also agreement during the Committee stage that it would be helpful to define "quiet enjoyment" in the context of the national parks. I am advised that, as the noble Lord, Lord Barber, said, such a definition need not be on the face of the Bill. However, I hope that we can agree that a definition in some form of the quiet
When I moved my amendment in Committee, I used as my point of reference the description of "quiet enjoyment" in the Dower report of 1945 which laid the foundations of our national parks. It is significant that the Dower definition provided the basis for the Countryside Commission's proposed definition. That demonstrates that we are not talking about a new concept. There has been great consistency in what kind of recreation is intended for promotion in the parks. The only difference is that in 1949 no one thought it necessary to qualify in the statute the type of enjoyment intended. The escalation of modern, noisy and incongruous pursuits was understandably not foreseen. It is important that any definition should capture the three elements of the Dower description. They were that any recreational activity should be considered in terms of its impact on, first, the natural qualities of the parks; secondly, the quietude of the area; and, thirdly, people's enjoyment. Amendment No. 178D captures those three dimensions. Amendment No. 178C captures the first two dimensions most elegantly, but not the third.
The noble Earl, Lord Lytton, asked me to return to the distinction between "promoting" and "banning". As I said in Committee, the promotion of quiet enjoyment is not equivalent to banning other activities. There are mechanisms already in place, such as planning controls, by-laws and traffic regulation orders, for controlling noisy or intrusive activities on a case by case basis. I also wish to repeat the statement that I made in Committee that I do not wish to see the promotion of quiet enjoyment used as a basis for banning field sports.
I strongly endorse the Countryside Commission's advice, published for Report stage, that national park authorities should take a positive approach to recreation in the parks. They should make extensive use of positive management methods so that, wherever possible, multi-purpose use can take place without causing damage to the essential quality of the parks.
I also note the Government's position as described in the 1992 policy statement on national parks. Not only did this state that park purposes shall refer expressly to "quiet enjoyment"; it also provided a detailed strategy. I shall quote the relevant paragraph to the House, because I consider it to be most pertinent:
I welcome clarification on Amendment No. 178C. I ask the following questions. What would the impact be on existing controls over noisy or intrusive activities? Would the amendment mean that action could be taken only if an activity affected the landscape of the park and
I hope that the two amendments before us tonight will provide a very good basis for discussions with the Government. There is much common ground. I hope that it will perhaps be possible at Third Reading for the Government to bring back a definition of their own upon which we can all agree.
Lord Northbourne: My Lords, I welcome the two amendments. It is so very necessary in a crowded island such as ours to have places where we can escape from the tyranny of the noisy internal combustion engine. I suspect that the national parks are one of the places where this should be made possible. I support the amendment.
Lord Annaly: My Lords, I shall be very brief at this time of night. I opposed the amendment on "quiet enjoyment" when it was passed. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, made a very powerful speech. No one tonight has answered the points that he raised. "Quiet enjoyment" is totally subjective. I fully respect all noble Lords who have made the point tonight that it will not affect field sports and this, that and the other. But at the end of the day the national park authorities will interpret the legislation when it is passed. I have no confidence that they will necessarily interpret it the same way.
Therefore, short of doing what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, said in Committeethat is, making a list of activities, whatever they may be, that are not allowed as they do not pass the "quiet enjoyment" testI am not happy. I cannot support these amendments.
Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, we have had a further interesting discussion about the meaning of the second national park purpose, as amended in Committee. The fact that nine noble Lords have spoken about this matter indicates the level of their concern about how "quiet enjoyment" describes that purpose.
The amendments of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, the noble Lord, Lord Barber of Tewkesbury, and my noble friend Lord Marlesford, defining the term "quiet enjoyment" have, I believe, helped to expose the very important issues which surround the use of the term. The amendment proposed by the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, represents what I believe many noble Lords said in Committee, explaining the intention underlying my noble friend Lord Norrie's amendment. Indeed, the noble Earl sought my assistance on the amendment, as he described.
There is clearly some concern among your Lordships about how the term might be interpreted. However, our debate has produced some measure of agreement about the meaning of "quiet enjoyment". The majority view seems to be that it means enjoyment by the public in
There seems to be less agreement about what "quiet enjoyment" excludes. I feel that it was useful that my noble friend Lord Annaly drew attention to his concern on that matter. On the one hand, there are those who think that the revised second national park purpose provides a justification for banning some noisy activities, such as motor-bikes and four-wheel drive vehicles driven across open countryside. In Committee the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, would perhaps have liked to get rid of low-flying aircraft. On the other hand, there is a view, as my noble friend Lord Norrie explained in Committee, and as the amendment of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, makes clear, that the parks should be areas where quiet activities are to be promoted but noisy activities are not to be prevented from taking place by reason of the introduction of the term "quiet enjoyment".
In addition, the noble Lord, Lord Barber, expressed his view that "quiet enjoyment" goes beyond the concept of tranquillity and quietude to embrace the physical condition of the parks so that activities that may cause lasting or serious damage to their fabric should be brought within the scope of the term. That is an interesting point of view.
I have listened with great interest to what has been said this evening. I believe that we need to study very carefully the points that have been made. I expect that there will be a further opportunity for this matter to be considered in another place. In the meantime, I ask the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, to withdraw his amendment.
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