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Viscount Ullswater: I have indicated what is the Government's view about the New Forest. I also indicated the arrangements that are available for the Countryside Commission to recommend other areas for new national parks. We consider that to be sufficient for the purpose, and I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Williams of Elvel: I am very disappointed by the noble Viscount's reply. I always understood that there was some arcane reason why the New Forest should not be designated as a national park. Now the noble Viscount tells me that there is no reason at all, and that it is simply a question of going through the normal procedures. Why then have the Government not met their commitment to designate the New Forest as a national park? If there is a procedural problem, then my amendment is in order and is relevant. There may well be other cases like this. If the noble Viscount is saying that my amendment is superfluous and unnecessary because the procedures are already there, then I put my question again to the noble Viscount: why do the Government not designate the New Forest as a national park?

Viscount Ullswater: At the risk of boring the Committee, I shall repeat what I said. Our policy statement issued in July 1994 made it clear that the New Forest should be subject to the same planning policies as the national parks. We took the view that it was not necessary to give statutory status to the New Forest Committee as adequate mechanisms were in place for the management of the area.

Lord Williams of Elvel: I see that I shall not get any further with this point. We shall have to return to it at a later stage. I do not understand the noble Viscount's argument. Either the New Forest is to be a national park or it is not to be a national park. We will certainly look

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at what the noble Viscount has said, for what it is worth, and perhaps return to the matter at a later stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Whether Clause 60 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Williams of Elvel: The Committee will be aware that the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee of this House has reported on this Bill. In paragraph 9 on page 2 of that report, the committee draws attention to Clauses 60 and 63, and indeed to Clause 70. We are dealing here with Clause 60. The Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee remarks:

    "The House may, however"—

having considered the powers under Clause 60—

    "wish to consider whether the affirmative procedure would be more appropriate in these cases because the scope of the power is not clearly defined in the bill or explained in the memorandum".

Perhaps I should explain to the Committee that the memorandum was that which was produced by the Department of the Environment to that committee. My purpose in putting down notice of my intention to oppose the Motion that Clause 60 stand part is simply to elicit from the Government their response to that committee's report.

Viscount Ullswater: The establishment of independent national park authorities was the principal recommendation of the National Parks Review Panel, and one which we accepted wholeheartedly in our 1992 policy statement on the future of the national parks. When, in the last Session, my noble friend Lord Norrie introduced his Bill to establish independent national park authorities, it received overwhelming support from both sides of this House. Independent status will have a number of advantages for the national park authorities, including a greater clarity of vision and self-confidence, a higher profile, freedom to manage their own affairs and a more undivided commitment to national park objectives.

We consider that to enable the Secretary of State to provide for the establishment of national park authorities by order is the most practicable, if not the only practicable, way of proceeding. It is unlikely that all the national park authorities for the existing national parks will be established at exactly the same time. The timing is likely to be influenced by the timing of any changes in the local government structure affecting any park under Part II of the Local Government Act 1994 or under the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994.

The circumstances of each park, and of its existing planning board or committee, will need individual consideration to identify the provisions required in connection with the winding up of the existing body. Thus we believe that, in order to facilitate a smooth transition from existing to new authorities, powers to make incidental, supplemental, consequential and transitional provision are essential.

The provisions in Clause 60 will have effect only within or for the purposes of national parks, and are very narrowly prescribed. The powers which Clause 70 provides for the making of orders under Clause 60, may

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only be used for incidental, supplemental, consequential and transitional purposes in connection with the primary power being used. That limitation is reiterated in the case of subsection (4) of Clause 70, which enables the making of Henry VIII provisions, as the committee pointed out in relation to the National Parks Bill introduced by my noble friend Lord Norrie in the last Session.

"Supplemental" is used in the sense indicated by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate when the House considered the committee's comments on what was originally Clause 52 of the Local Government (Wales) Bill (debated on 28th February 1994 and reported at cols. 892 to 895). That is to say, the powers contained in Clause 52 could be used only for matters arising in consequence of local government reorganisation or, in this instance, primarily the establishment of national park authorities under Clause 60 and the winding up of the existing boards and committees.

As has also been pointed out, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments will be able to exercise its usual jurisdiction to question vires, on that or any other point. I therefore ask that the noble Lord withdraw his opposition to this clause.

Lord Williams of Elvel: If Clause 60, as reported on by the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee is defective in parliamentary terms, in the sense that the House may wish to consider whether the affirmative procedure would be more appropriate in these cases because the scope of the power is not clearly defined in the Bill nor explained in the memorandum—and I believe that that is the case—would the Government accept that the affirmative procedure on orders under Clause 60 is the correct one? If the Government say, "Well, designation of national parks is subject to negative procedure", why—with reference to our previous debate—do not they simply issue an order now saying that the New Forest is a national park?

Viscount Ullswater: I tried to explain that Clause 70, which talks about Clause 60 (in Parts II and III) is only a very narrow definition for the supplemental provisions. I was trying to argue that in our opinion they were suitable for the negative procedure.

Clause 60 agreed to.

Lord Annaly moved Amendment No. 258ZD:

After Clause 60, insert the following new clause:

("Exclusion for defence use

. Land within any National Park which forms part of a Ministry of Defence landholding and is used for training for the defence of the realm shall not form part of the area of a National Park for the purposes of this or any other enactment.").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I speak both as a former soldier and a long-standing visitor to national parks. My noble friend Lord Elliott of Morpeth, who put his name to the amendment, regrets that he is unable to be present tonight to speak in support of the amendment.

The MoD land holdings collectively represent 3 per cent. of the total acreage of national parks and in only three out of the nine national parks where the MoD

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owns land for training is the acreage of any significant proportion: that is in Northumberland, where it is 22 per cent.; Dartmoor, where it is 15 per cent.; and the Pembrokeshire coast, where it is 5 per cent.

In the past three years the situation has arisen in which the highly vocal and influential environmental lobby has intensified its questioning of the Army's primary right to train on MoD land, particularly in Northumberland, where the military training area at Otterburn was established in 1911, some 40-odd years before national parks were created. The national park authorities, which are deeply involved with the environmentalists, gave evidence to the Commons Select Committee in March last year. They said that they were strongly opposed to any "intensification" of military training within national parks, even though they acknowledged that the Army's needs were increasing because of the withdrawal of units from Germany under Options for Change. The national park authorities praised the MoD for its:

    "commendable record in protecting and enhancing the nature conservancy value of their training areas, some of which are now of national importance".

But at the same time they recorded that they looked forward to the eventual removal of military training, which they regarded as "incompatible" with the objects and purposes of national parks.

Those statements, which were repeated in the Northumberland National Park's formal plans published in March 1994, aroused concern in the local community, whose economy benefits by £6 million a year from the Army's presence. After three generations of living and working in harmony with the military, whose activities are compatible with upland farming, local people were further incensed at reports that the park authority was to oppose developments to enable the Army to fire its new general purpose field gun, the AS90, on the Otterburn ranges, which are among the most important in the United Kingdom.

Against that background, I believe that if the amendment is not agreed, the national park authority may deny the Army its primary right to train on MoD land. I know that the Committee is well aware, in these uncertain times and this era of sophisticated and technical weaponry, that it is essential that our much reduced Army is properly trained and has the use of appropriate training areas.

My noble friend Lord Vivian, who is unable to be present to speak in support owing to a prior engagement, believes that such areas are essential to the Army today. He strongly supports the amendment. The hardening of attitude and relations between Russia and the West—Russia has over 2 million armed men—and the Fundamentalist Movement covering the whole of southern Europe in a crescent shape signify very real threats to the United Kingdom, if not now then perhaps one day in the future.

Given the opportunity through a Bill to sort out anomalies and conflicts between national park authorities and defence interests, it makes no sense to re-tie the knot that places the Army's real estate within the jurisdiction of a body which says that its purposes

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are incompatible with those of military training and which uses its terms of reference under DoE policies to support its case. Freeing the MoD to work instead with accountable elected bodies over planning matters would leave national park authorities collectively with 97 per cent. of the total area that they presently supervise and without major conflicts of interest.

Some of the best conserved areas are those which have been used for military training. The public would continue to have the maximum possible access within the bounds of safety.

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