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National Parks (Heavy Lorries)

Volume 21: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to restrict the use of heavier lorries on routes in national parks.

Local authorities already have extensive powers to control the movement of heavy lorries in national parks and elsewhere. I am providing them with further guidance on the use of those powers.

Is the Secretary of State aware that representatives of the Peak District national park are worried about any proposal to introduce even heavier lorries on to our roads? Will he ensure that, if that does happen, such lorries are not permitted to traverse national parks?

The concern about heavy lorries moving in areas of great beauty and national parks is before us anyway. The hon. Gentleman is right to be concerned about it. I propose to give further guidance to local authorities on how they should use their powers. I shall also ensure that, in accepting expenditure for transport supplementary grant, encouragement is given to those local authorities that tackle the problem of lorry routes. The problem must be grappled with, and it is one reason why we need a comprehensive approach to lorry controls generally.

In considering his guidance to local authorities, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that one problem with the national parks is that it is increasingly becoming more expensive for local people to continue to live in the areas where they were born? If he accedes to such proposals and makes recommendations as suggested, is he aware that that will exacerbate one problem faced by local people in the national parks?

I realise, as does my hon. Friend, that there is a balance to be struck between the impact on the environment of heavy commercial vehicles and the need for people to carry out their business in a sensible and restrained way. I shall take into account what my hon. Friend said.