§ Mr. Galley
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the report of the review of the economic efficiency of national park authorities published in 1984.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
This review, by the management consultants, Arthur Young McClelland Moores and Co., was commissioned jointly by my Department, the Welsh Office and the Countryside Commission. It considered the level of resources available to national park authorities and the efficiency and economy with which they discharge their responsibilities towards conservation and recreation.
In general the consultant's report has shown that national park authorities are serving the public well. No evidence was found of any major shortcomings in their administrative efficiency, but the consultants identified a number of areas in which improvements might be made in all the parks as well as some where additional resources might be justified.
The report also made various recommendations for strengthening the operation of the national park supplementary grant system to improve the means of assessing national park authorities' needs and performance and of allocating grant accordingly.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I consider this to have been a valuable review and welcome the constructive report which has emerged. We believe that a positive response at both national and local level should provide a sounder basis for the promotion of national park objectives and the effective deployment of resources to the benefit of all concerned.
This has been explained in a draft circular, published today, setting out our views and explaining the substantial progress which has already been made towards implementing key parts of the report. Copies of the draft, on which comments are invited by 30 June, have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.