§ 14. Mr. Galbraith
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met the chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage to discuss national parks. 
§ Mr. Galbraith
Is it not time that Scotland had its own national parks, to look after the Cairngorms, Loch Lomond, Ben Nevis and Glencoe? Why does the Minister persist with the voluntary principle, which, as Scottish Natural Heritage's own corporate plan says, is too costly and unworkable? Is not it time, therefore, that the Minister started to protect the countryside rather than his friends the landowners?
§ Mr. Lang
I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman has so little faith in the local authorities in the area, or in their capacity to work together in the interests of their area. The fact is that the national park concept is not an unqualified success south of the border. Indeed, Scottish Natural Heritage supports the voluntary principle and the proposals that working parties have developed separately for the Cairngorms, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. Our response has been to accept the recommendation of the working party, and I believe that it can be made to work successfully.
§ Mr. Robathan
When my right hon. Friend next meets the chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage, will he raise the question of the spread of mink throughout Scotland from the national parks in England and Wales, and now, indeed, to the outer Hebrides? The impact that those animals are having on the ecology, the wildlife and the economy based on fishing, in Scotland as elsewhere, is extremely damaging.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Does the Secretary of State acknowledge the importance to the local borders heritage of the special bridge built by Rennie straddling the Tweed at Kelso? Will he look urgently at the recent decision to refuse capital consent to build a replacement road bridge across the river to save and protect the bridge for the natural heritage of the borders in the coming years?
§ Mr. Foulkes
Is the Secretary of State aware that some of the finest countryside in Scotland will be spoilt if Scottish Power is allowed to go ahead with its interconnector to Northern Ireland? Is he also aware that local people are deeply concerned that Scottish Power had unlimited resources to present its case, while the objectors were severely inhibited by a lack of resources and by the fact that Mr. James McCulloch, the senior reporter, seemed to be bending over backwards in favour of Scottish Power? I hope that the Secretary of State will take that into account when he considers the report from the reporter.