§ Dr. Kim Howells
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what measures are being taken to limit the physical damage to vulnerable natural landscapes in the National Park areas of the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire and Gower.
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
The relevant national parks authorities have the general responsibility for identifying and taking steps to limit physical damage to vulnerable landscapes in those areas for which they are responsible, in accordance with their statutory powers and wider management interest.
All three parks are preparing maps and related management strategies for these areas as required under section 3 of the Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1985. Within these areas the national parks have additional powers to make management agreements with landowners where developments threaten landscape quality. In addition, all parks have consultation procedures to protect against inappropriate forestry development and management programmes to repair damage caused by recreational pressures. They also seek to influence farmers, landowners and the general public by education and persuasion. As planning authorities the national parks also control development. Where appropriate, national parks have acquired land which they manage directly to ensure the maintenance of quality.
The Countryside Commission has also recently established a review panel under the chairmanship of 134W Professor Ron Edwards, which will address the issue of vulnerable landscapes, among other matters. It is expected to report early in the new year.