House of Commons Debates, Written Answers & Written Statements
Week Commencing 29 November 2010
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of likely proceeds from the sale of (a) Forestry Commission land in England and (b) national nature reserves in each year of the spending review period. 
Mr Paice [holding answer 24 November 2010]: Work on the future management and/or ownership of national nature reserves is at a very early stage so it is not possible to give any indications about any likely sale values.
The Forestry Commission estimates selling 15% of the public forest estate over the spending review period, approximately 40,000 hectares. The estimate of net receipts from sales, year on year, is £13 million/£18 million/£20.5 million/£23 million.
Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the New Forest National Park Authority spent on circulating the recent report on its activities to every household in the National Park. 
Richard Benyon: The decision to issue the authority's 'Park Life' biannual newsletter is a matter for that authority. I understand that each edition costs £12,000 to produce and distribute-which is about 13p per copy.
Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what visits on what dates for what purposes (a) she and (b) other Ministers in her Department have made to (i) national parks and (ii) national nature reserves since 11 May 2010. 
Richard Benyon [holding answer 24 November 2010]: I have expressed a keen interest in visiting all of the English national parks to see at first hand the valuable work being undertaken. So far I have been to Northumberland national park on 15 June and the Peak District national park on 27 July.
During my visit to Northumberland national park I also went to Greenlee Lough national nature reserve to see how national park and national nature reserve designations can work together.
Other national nature reserves I visited are Holme Fen and Woodwalton Fen on 10 November as part of the Great Fen project which is designed to link up the land between the two nature reserves.
I was also able to see Leigh Woods national nature reserve from the Avon Gorge site of special scientific interest which I visited on 19 July.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Mr Paice) visited Dartmoor national park on 11 November to discuss uplands issues.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the noble Lord, Lord Henley visited the Lake District national park on 25 August regarding future changes needed to adapt to climate change.
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman) has met with key representatives from the English national parks authority association and spoken with a number of people who have an interest in national parks and national nature reserves. We are currently putting together a programme of visits for 2011, which includes visits to our national parks.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to publish the Localism Bill. 
Greg Clark: The Localism Bill contains a wide range of measures to shift power from central Government into the hands of individuals, communities and councils. The Bill frees local government from central and regional control and strengthens local democracy. In addition, it gives greater power over planning, housing and other services and allows councils and councillors to be better held to account.
The Bill will be published imminently.
Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has assessed the merits of merging National Park Authorities' and local authority planning departments. 
Robert Neill: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued a consultation on the Governance Arrangements for the National Parks and the Broads Authority on 9 November, the consultation concludes on 1 February 2011 and can be found at the following link:
In addition, Ministers believe there is a significant scope for different local authorities to share back office functions, including planning services.