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Lord Cochrane of Cults: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. I was saying that the right to roam must not be overdone, particularly by large animals such as horses, or mechanical contrivances. On the whole, except with large numbers in wet country, footpaths do not suffer a great deal of damage, but there are vulnerable places. I had no intention of saying that the right to roam was automatically wrong; I was trying to explain that the Government and others need to be aware that it can go wrong.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I am delighted to hear that, and I acknowledge the force of the noble Lord's reservations. I reaffirm that if we cannot reach agreement on the right-to-roam provisions--I hope that we can--we shall have to go further.
A number of noble Lords referred to particular areas of difficulty. The noble Lords, Lord Jopling and Lord Inglewood, talked about the Lake District; and the noble Lord, Lord Renton of Mount Harry, about the South Downs. The noble Lord, Lord Renton of Mount Harry, will know that the Government have no power to give directions to the Countryside Commission, and so I cannot in any way comment upon the report that it has prepared for the Government until we have had a chance to consider it fully.
Lord Renton of Mount Harry: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for giving way. I was not suggesting that he should. I understand that Ministers will now be considering the Countryside Commission's proposal, and, I hope, those by the Sussex Downs Conservation Board very carefully. The point I wanted to make was that there is a close similarity between the two, and I hope that that will be recognised by Ministers.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, that is a fair point. A number of noble Lords referred to London as the gateway to Britain, and, perhaps, too often the only place to which overseas visitors come. BTA research shows that 53 per cent. of all overseas visitors spend some time in London. The noble Earl, Lord Bradford, and others were right to say that we have reached a critical overload in many parts of London, notably on our public transport system.
So let us turn to what brings the two parts of the Motion together; that is, the phrase "sustainable tourism". What does that mean? In a nutshell it means developing tourism so that the economic and social
The key is to balance the demand of today's tourists with the need to conserve the industry's vital fabric for residents and visitors, today and tomorrow. The choice suggested here is not as stark as some people may think. My noble friend Lord Gordon of Strathblane, who was unfortunately unable to take part in the debate, reminded me, from his Scottish tourist experience, that a number of visitors, particularly German and Scandinavian, demand sustainable tourism and would not come here unless they thought that our tourist facilities were being undertaken on a sustainable basis.
I turn to what the Government are doing and plan to do about it. Noble Lords have recognised, first, that we produced Opportunities for Change in February of this year. It was launched by the Deputy Prime Minister. It is the wider consultation on updating the UK's sustainable development strategy. Within that there is of course the consultation document which has been referred to and welcomed, entitled Tourism--Towards Sustainability, which was published by Tom Clarke the Minister responsible for tourism on 14th April. It represents a radically different approach. It is the first time that the Government have consulted so widely about the role that tourism can play, because the Government are committed to enabling tourism growth that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
What does the paper do? It has a number of different questions which the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, kindly described as searching. Before I say more about the questions, I should say that the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, seemed to think that the drafting of the paper and of our strategies was being done largely by people within the tourism industry. That is not the case. The sustainability sub-group members under the chairmanship of Geoffrey Lipman, the president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, includes representatives of the Countryside Commission, the National Trust, the Rural Development Commission, Jonathan Porritt from his own organisation, Forum for the Future, the Oxford Brooks University and, of course, the DCMS itself. It is very widely based. The 57 members of the Tourism Forum and its working parties come from a wide variety of backgrounds.
The paper seeks views on seven interrelated issues concerning sustainable tourism in the UK. First, how to integrate sustainable tourism into strategies at local, regional and national level and how to measure progress towards sustainability. Secondly, how tourism can best be used as an instrument for change. Thirdly, the best tools and techniques for managing visitor flows, thereby returning to the issue of critical load. Fourthly, how to encourage people to use more environmentally friendly transport. Fifthly, how to ensure that new tourism development contributes to the goal of sustainability.
We have distributed 10,000 copies of that document and more copies are available to anyone who wants them. It is also available on the Internet. As the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, reminded us, responses are due by 29th May to the DCMS and they may be sent by e-mail. The aim of the consultation is to ensure that the policies which we and others put in place are the right ones and that those who have to put them in place have been involved in policy making.
I will not deal with the detailed questions which were asked, but I will try rapidly to deal with some of the additional questions. As regards planning guidance No. 17 on sport and recreation and No. 21 on tourism, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is carrying out fresh research and will be reporting soon. The noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, asked about VAT on listed buildings. I am afraid that I can give him no more favourable an answer than I gave him on the previous occasion. As regards up-dating the listing, he named a couple of cities where we might be behind. The approach we are taking is thematic. I hope he will agree that that is right, rather than blitzing particular cities. In that way, we can more effectively address the priorities for listing.
I sympathise with the noble Lord, Lord Monro, as regards wind farms. It is a difficult issue and if there is anything in addition that I ought to tell him I shall write to him. I share the sadness of the noble Lord, Lord Luke, that we were unable via a commercial deal to set up park-and-sail to the Millennium Dome at Greenwich. However, he will recall that we are spending £21 million as part of the Thames 2000 initiative to boost new passenger transport services on the Thames. We expect 1 million people to travel by boat from central London to the Millennium Dome during the year 2000.
What will happen as a result of the consultation? First, the results will be used to update the tourism section of the UK Sustainable Development Strategy. That will be published by the DETR later this year. The results will also feed into the development of the new strategy for tourism which the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will launch later this year. We are working on a comprehensive strategy for tourism, for which the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, asked, which will spell out how the Government intend to create and sustain an improved policy framework within which tourism, hospitality and leisure can flourish. It will identify the underlying trends in tourism and use that information to build on the industry's success.
Today's debate has been a most valuable addition to that consultation process. I assure your Lordships that the speeches will be included formally--there is no reason why they should not be--in the consultation process and will therefore be reflected in our conclusions.
The Viscount of Falkland: My Lords, it only remains for me to thank all noble Lords who have taken part in a most interesting and productive debate. I was interested to hear the Minister pick up on a point that I have scrawled on my papers. It was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Montague of Oxford, and was followed by the noble Lord, Lord Cochrane of Cults, and my noble friend Lord Thurso. They asked whether we were talking about people or money. I understood the noble Lord, Lord Montague of Oxford, not to be talking about a tourist tax but about "spend per head", if I may use the ineloquent jargon of the trade.
I am not sure whether I agree with his comments about young people coming here in large numbers and that we should not discourage them because they may be the tourists of the future. The paper published 10 years ago by the noble Viscount, Lord Norwich, which inspired me to table the Motion, dealt with that problem and pondered on the question of whether it was more beneficial for people to visit countries and look at their cultures in small groups, either as individuals or with members of their families, rather than in the large hoards which we increasingly see in London, having come through the Channel Tunnel and eaten their sandwiches in the park. That is a debate for another day. I was brought up as an only child and I am a motorcyclist, so I would think that way, anyway, wouldn't I? My Lords, I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.