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National Parks: South Downs

Volume 464: debated on Monday 8 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will consider extending the period of public consultation on the boundary change designation of the South Downs National Park to include evidence relating to the Western Weald; (154037)

(2) whether consideration has been given to extending the period of public consultation on the boundary change designation of the South Downs National Park.

After careful consideration, I announced on 27 July that, while the formal deadline for responses remained 13 August, the Secretary of State would consider all objections and representations which were received by 24 September 2007.

The purpose of this consultation was to elicit comments on any new relevant matters which we thought were most likely to fall into one of the following categories:

(i) any implications for the Designation Order (as varied by the Variation Order) arising directly as a result of revised National Parks legislation—amendments to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 made by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006, sections 59 and 99;

(ii) any implications for the Designation Order (as varied by the Variation Order) arising directly as a result of the High Court and Court of Appeal Judgments on the challenge by ‘Meyrick Estate Management Ltd.’ relating to the New Forest National Park;

(iii) the possible alternative boundary line from north of Petersfield running east across to Pulborough;

(iv) possible additional areas recommended for inclusion within the proposed South Downs National Park.