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National Parks

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many national parks there are; how much land they cover; and what representations she has received to (a) enlarge them and (b) create new national parks. [115152]

The seven National Parks in England, together with the Broads (which are of similar status) cover 993,592 hectares. This is 7 per cent. of the land area of England. The Countryside Agency is responsible for designating National Parks in England and modifying their boundaries, subject to confirmation by the Secretary of State. Since Defra was established in July 2001, the Agency has submitted Designation Orders for new National Parks in the New Forest and the South Downs. The Agency has not sought to enlarge any existing National Parks. Last year's review of English National Park Authorities recommended that the boundary of the Broads should be studied, and Defra has had occasional queries about boundary changes elsewhere.Responsibilities for National Parks in Wales and Scotland lie with the devolved administrations and their respective statutory advisers.