10 April 2000
Treasury refuses 20m for countryside

By FWi staff

SOME of the countrys most important beauty sports are under threat because the Treasury is refusing to allocate a 20-million lifeline, reports The Times.

The Department of the Environment wants the money to be allocated so that areas of outstanding natural beauty can be safeguarded.

But government whips have told Labour MPs on the committee scrutinising the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill that there is no extra cash, says the newspaper.

It believes the issue is likely to provoke a new Labour backbench rebellion, because many Labour MPs want local authorities to manage the areas in question.

The paper quotes Tory environment spokesman Damien Green, who said: “The row over these areas of outstanding natural beauty is part of a pattern”.

The Tories believe the Department of the Environment, headed by deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, is doing very badly with the Treasury.

Mr Green told The Times he would table an amendment intended to guarantee funding and management of areas of natural beauty.

The paper lists the areas under threat as:

  • Anglesey,
  • Arnside and Silverdale,
  • Blackdown Hills,
  • Cannock Chase,
  • Clywedian Range,
  • Cotswolds,
  • Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs,
  • Dedham Vale,
  • Parts of Devon,
  • Forest of Bowland,
  • Gower,
  • Isles of Scilly,
  • Lincolnshire Wolds,
  • Lleyn,
  • Malvern Hills,
  • Mendip Hills,
  • Nidderdale,
  • Norfolk Coast,
  • North Pennines,
  • Northumberland Coast,
  • North Wessex Downs,
  • Quantock Hills,
  • Shropshire Hills,
  • Solway Coast,
  • Tamar Valley, and
  • Wye Valley.

  • The Times, 10/04/00, page 11