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Volume 115: debated on Thursday 7 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many reports have been submitted to him by the Countryside Commission during each of the past five years concerning the establishment of long-distance routes, under the provisions of section 51 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.

None. The last such report, which concerned the Peddars way and North Norfolk coast path, was submitted on 27 August 1981 and approved on 8 October 1982. This route was officially opened on 8 July 1986. I understand, however, that the commission has two further reports in preparation.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average time taken to deal with appeals under paragraph 4(1) of schedule 14 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and applications for directions under paragraph 3(2) of that schedule; and if he will take steps to reduce delays.

The average time between receipt of appeal, or application for a direction and determination has been 100 and 34 weeks respectively. Steps have already been taken to reduce this by provision of extra staff in the division concerned.