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Lord Elis-Thomas: My Lords, I welcome these amendments and I welcome the fact that they mean that the procedure can take place in a timely and orderly manner. I wish the new Welsh national parks well in their collaboration with local authorities and in pursuit of the objective of sustainable development. But I would say that, wouldn't I?

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, as a matter of clarification, Amendment No. 183 uses the expression:


Does the Secretary of State have any discretion not to exercise his power? I hear what the noble Viscount says about what the Secretary of State proposes to do but does he have discretion not to do it if he so chooses? It seems to me that he has. Would it not be better to have "shall" rather than "may"?

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, because we are working on a parallel track it may not be necessary to use the power. That is why the word "may" is used rather than "shall".

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 7 [National Park authorities]:

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 184:


Page 139, line 37, at end insert ("; and, in appointing local authority members of a National Park authority, a principal council shall have regard to the desirability of appointing members of the council who represent wards, or (in Wales) electoral divisions, situated wholly or partly within the relevant Park").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, Amendment No. 184 gives effect to the intention of Amendment No. 258AA in the name of my noble friend Lord Derwent on the subject of membership, which he moved in Committee. At that time, I offered to look carefully at what my noble friend had said. Having given the matter further consideration, we have decided that it would be appropriate for there to be provision on the face of the Bill for local authorities to have regard to the desirability of appointing members to the national park authorities who represent wards in England, and electoral divisions in Wales, in the parks, which I believe will be in the best interests of the people who live in the parks.

Amendment No. 188 is of a minor and technical nature, to add the shorthand, marginal description of the provisions in question; namely, Sections 15 to 17 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

Amendment No. 191 gives effect to the intention of Amendment No. 258EB of my noble friend, Lord Derwent on liaison with parish and community councils which he moved during Committee stage. At that time I offered to look carefully at what my noble friend said and, having given the matter further consideration, we are persuaded by my noble friend's argument that it would be appropriate to include on the face of the Bill provision to give parish and community councils the fullest opportunity to comment on and contribute to park

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policies. This amendment reflects the special importance which we attach to ensuring that the views of local people in the parks are heard.

Amendments Nos. 196, 197 and 198 give effect to the intention of Amendments Nos. 258EX, 258EY and 258EZ which my noble friend Lord Cranbrook moved in Committee. Having given further consideration to the issue, we are persuaded by my noble friend's argument that the Nature Conservancy Council for England should be added to the list of bodies which the national park authorities must notify when proposing to publish, adopt or review their national park management plans.

My noble friend also moved Amendment No. 252B to amend the first national park purpose to include a reference to natural features. At the time I assured him that we regard the characteristic natural features of the parks as an integral part of their natural beauty for which they have been designated as special areas. However, to remove any possible doubt, Amendment No. 209 alters the definition of "natural beauty" in Section 114(2) of the 1949 Act, which includes natural features, flora, fauna and geological and physiographical features, to make it refer on its face to conservation as well as preservation. That will match, and govern, the wording of the first of the revised national park purposes. I understand that my noble friend welcomes the amendments. I beg to move.

Lord Feversham: My Lords, I should very much like to welcome the amendments, especially those which, as the Minister said, were prompted by the issues raised by the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, in Committee. In particular, I welcome Amendment No. 191 which relates to a duty for national parks to consider and inform parish councils within the national parks. My welcome will come as no surprise to noble Lords because I am president of the National Association of Local Councils.

The amendments are especially welcome because although the Minister agreed in Committee to take them away and consider them, I thought that he did so with considerable reluctance. However, perhaps I am being a little unfair. I am absolutely delighted that he has brought forward such amendments. On these issues at least, the Minister smells of new mown hay if not even of roses. I hope that the noble Viscount does not find that too disconcerting.

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, the amendments, especially Amendment No.184, are certainly the product of a fairly lengthy discussion that we had in Committee. There is just one point I should like to raise with the Minister. Let us suppose, for example, that the local authorities which are part of the national park authority have a particular party in control. Let us further suppose that the members of the council who represent wards or electoral divisions in Wales and who are to be appointed to the national park authority belong to the minority party in the council. Would that not create the rather odd situation of a council controlled by one party but obliged to appoint members of the opposition to the national parks authority?

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, Amendment No. 188 strives to overcome the problem of political balance as

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regards membership. I understand that it may be difficult always to comply with the requirements of Amendment No. 184. However, it is an attempt, perhaps a duty, to ensure that councils have regard to the desirability of appointing; I put it no higher than that. I believe that Amendment No. 188 attaches the concept of political balance. I should add how pleased I am that the noble Lord, Lord Feversham, also welcomes the amendments.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 185:


Page 139, line 39, leave out ("in respect") and insert ("by virtue").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, in moving the amendment, I should like to speak also to Amendments Nos. 190, 208, 258 and 314 tabled in my name. They are all technical amendments seeking to clarify various provisions in the Bill.

Amendment No. 185 is a technical amendment to clarify that a local authority appointee to a national park authority holds appointment by virtue of being a member of a principal council with land in the appropriate national park. Amendment No. 190 is a consequential amendment to paragraph 2(7) of Schedule 7 to the Bill as a result of Amendment No. 185.

Amendment No. 208 puts it beyond doubt that the Secretaries of State for Wales and for England can operate the order-making powers within Part III of the Bill differently within the two countries. The matter was also referred to in the memorandum that I sent to my noble friend Lord Rippon of Hexham.

Amendment No. 258 is a technical amendment to Clause 105(3) of the Bill making clear that the repeal of paragraph 22(1) of Schedule 10 to the Bill will only come into force in accordance with paragraph 22(7). Paragraph 22(1) is a transitional provision defining relevant authority with regard to Section 39 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Amendment No. 314 is also a technical amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 186 and 187 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 188:


Page 139, line 45, at end insert ("(political balance)").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 189 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendments Nos. 190, 191 and 192:


Page 140, line 3, leave out ("in respect") and insert ("by virtue").
Page 144, line 29, at end insert:

("Liaison with parish and community councils

. A National Park authority shall make arrangements—
(a) in the case of a National Park in England, with each parish council the area of which is comprised wholly or partly within the Park, or

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(b) in the case of a National Park in Wales, with each community council the area of which is so comprised,
for the purpose of informing and consulting that council about the authority's discharge of its functions.").
Page 145, leave out lines 38 and 39 and insert ("means—
(a) the order under section 60 of this Act establishing that authority;
(b) any order under that section relating to that authority; or
(c) any order made in relation to that authority in exercise of the power to amend an order under that section.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

4.45 p.m.

Clause 61 [General purposes and powers]:


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