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National Parks: Moorland Conservation

Volume 413: debated on Thursday 23 October 1980

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will state their intentions for moorland conservation in the National Parks?

My right honourable friends the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Secretary of State for Wales intend to seek in the Wildlife and Countryside Bill a reserve power for Ministers to make orders which would require 12 months' notice of proposed farming operations on moorland in national parks but would permit the farmers to go ahead unless the national park authority had objected within 3 months. In Exmoor, on the initiative of the National Farmers' Union and the Country Landowners' Association, voluntary arrangements for 12 months' notice have now been agreed. The reserve power will not be invoked for Exmoor as long as these voluntary arrangements are being observed. Nor is there any present intention of invoking it for other national parks.Because we regard the Exmoor situation as exceptional my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will support the National Park Committee's moorland conservation expenditure at the special rate of 90 per cent. instead of 75 per cent. beginning in 1981–82.A paper indicating all the intended provisions on moorland and other countryside matters in the Bill is about to be issued and a copy will be placed in the parliamentary Libraries.House adjourned at twenty-four minutes past seven o'clock.