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MS12 - National Parks and AONBs
Mr Speaker,

I rise today to place a set of new statutory instruments regarding the creation of new national parks and new Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These are the result of many individuals’ campaigning, in this House and around our country. I thank them for their work.

Both national parks and AONBs preserve some of our country’s most beautiful landscapes for future generations. They limit the ability of others to violate a strong community and public interest in these places. They are a vital part of creating a happier, greener place - they help make life worth living for many people.

That is why this Government backs them, and is creating new ones. The New Forest and the South Downs will be national parks, while Tamar Valley, the Yorkshire Wolds, and Nidderdale will be AONBs.

There will be a consultation on the precise boundaries of these new national parks and AONBs. It is important that as many people as possible in the locations affected contribute, and get their voices heard.

In the case of the national parks, the appropriate local authorities will be placed in charge of running and administering them. Where, as in the case of the South Downs, the park covers more than one local authority, it will be administered by all local work together.  We encourage local authorities to work with parish councils, land owners, the crown estates and local people. This must be a democratic administering of some of our most important places, preserving them for the future.

This is a step forward for our country, a step forward for our new national parks and AONBs, and a step forward for those who want to enjoy the splendour of our countryside.
Mr. Speaker,

I commend the Government on getting this right, and thank the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for the Environment for particularly answering my calls to honour and protect my own constituency, The Wrekin to ensure that The Wrekin and its surrounding Shropshire Hills will be preserved and maintained to inspire current and future generations of Britians. This is an excellent example of an area where we can work together in a cross-party way to address issues that are deeply important to the British People, and I commend the Prime Minister and the Government for working with all parties in ensuring that we act to protect the splendour of our countryside.
Labour MP for The Wrekin (1987-Present)

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Mr Speaker,

This announcement is all well and good, and a positive step for the Prime Minister's pocket-project of more parks, however it is ultimately not enough. You don't fatten the pig by weighing it, and this is a case of doing just that. As someone who represents a rural constituency, and leads a party known for strength in Mid Wales, the Highlands, and the West Country, this is a matter that I've taken a great interest in throughout my time in Parliament. That is why a few months ago, I proposed a proper package for the countryside, and a new Countryside Code. We need to renew our understanding of how to act and be courteous when in rural areas, especially if we are to promote the economic benefits of tourism and holidays in Britain. 

I ask the Prime Minister for his support on drawing up a new Countryside Code. We need to introduce the right-to-roam, something Environment Ministers have refused to do, and we need a public service broadcasting campaign for those travelling to the countryside. Montgomery, as with the rest of Mid Wales, is a place with a unique way of life. I'm proud to have grown up locally and proud to represent my constituents. I think that they deserve a bit of attention, and to have their way of life recognised and protected. The National Farmers Union and Ramblers' Association are on my side - is the Prime Minister?

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