NEW FOREST – NATIONAL PARK & DIBDEN BAY – 9 January 2001

Dr Julian Lewis: While my hon. Friend [Desmond Swayne] says that the boundaries might not guarantee that an unpleasant development will not occur, would he agree that the Agency should be praised for including Dibden Bay within the proposed boundary, which might make it a little harder to build a container port on the edge of the Forest with devastating consequences for the inhabitants, the environment and the forest itself?

[Mr Swayne: I entirely concur with my hon. Friend in congratulating the Agency on its robust and proper decision to include Dibden Bay within the proposed boundary of the New Forest national park.]

[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Mr Chris Mullin): First, I thank the hon. Members for New Forest, West (Mr Swayne), for New Forest, East (Dr Lewis) and for Christchurch (Mr Chope) for setting out their case so robustly and with their customary good humour. They are all fortunate to represent such a beautiful area ... The hon. Member for New Forest, East referred to Dibden Bay and, again, he will understand that I cannot comment on that because the issues largely concern planning, which will have to be considered separately. However, I pay tribute to his ingenuity in getting the subject into the debate, considering that he opposes the whole concept of a national park – unless he has changed his position since we last discussed the matter.]