National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1949 c. 97


National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act , 1949

(12, 13 & 14 Geo. 6) CHAPTER 97

An Act to make provision for National Parks and the establishment of a National Parks Commission; to confer on the Nature Conservancy and local authorities powers for the establishment and maintenance of nature reserves; to make further provision for the recording, creation, maintenance and improvement of public paths and for securing access to open country, and to amend the law relating to rights of way; to confer further powers for preserving and enhancing natural beauty; and for matters connected with the purposes aforesaid.

[16th December 1949]

B e it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I The National Parks Commission

Part I

The National Parks Commission

S-1 The National Parks Commission.

1 The National Parks Commission.

There shall be a National Parks Commission which shall be charged with the duty of exercising the functions conferred on them by the following provisions of this Act—

a ) for the preservation and enhancement of natural beauty in England and Wales, and particularly in the areas designated under this Act as National Parks or as areas of outstanding natural beauty
b ) for encouraging the provision or improvement, for persons resorting to National Parks, of facilities for the enjoyment thereof and for the enjoyment of the opportunities for open-air recreation and the study of nature afforded thereby

and of exercising such other functions as are conferred on the Commission by this Act.

S-2 Constitution of Commission.

2 Constitution of Commission.

(1) The National Parks Commission (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Commission’) shall be a body corporate by that name with a common seal, and shall consist of a chairman and such number of other members as the Minister may determine, of whom one may be appointed to be deputy chairman.

(2) The members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Minister and shall hold and vacate office in accordance with such terms as may be prescribed by or under regulations made by the Minister and, on vacating office, shall be eligible for re-appointment.

(3) The Minister may pay to the chairman and deputy chairman of the Commission such remuneration (whether by way of salary or by way of fees), and to any of the members of the Commission such reasonable allowances in respect of—

( a ) expenses properly incurred in the performance of their duties,

( b ) loss of remunerative time, or

( c ) additional expenses (other than as aforesaid) necessarily incurred by them for the purpose of enabling them to perform their duties, being expenses to which they would not otherwise have been subject,

as the Minister may with the consent of the Treasury determine.

(4) The Commission may, with the approval of the Minister, appoint a secretary to the Commission, and may appoint such number of other officers and of servants as the Minister may with the consent of the Treasury determine.

(5) The functions of the Commission, and of their officers and servants, shall be exercised on behalf of the Crown.

(6) The procedure (including the quorum) of the Commission shall be such as they may determine.

(7) The validity of any proceeding of the Commission shall not be affected by any vacancy among the members thereof or by any defect in the appointment of a member thereof.

(8) A member of the Commission, other than the chairman or deputy chairman, shall not by reason of his membership be rendered incapable of being elected, or of sitting and voting as, a member of the House of Commons.

S-3 Power of Minister to give directions to Commission.

3 Power of Minister to give directions to Commission.

(1) The Minister may give to the Commission such directions of a general character as appear to him expedient in relation to the exercise of their functions, and the Commission shall comply with directions given under this section.

(2) As soon as may be after giving a direction under this section the Minister shall, unless in his opinion it is against the interests of national security so to do, cause a notice setting out the direction to be published in such manner as appears to him to be requisite for informing persons and bodies of persons concerned.

S-4 Annual Report of Commission.

4 Annual Report of Commission.

(1) The Commission shall, as soon as possible after the thirtieth day of September in each year, make to the Minister a report on the discharge by them of their functions under this Act during the period of twelve months ending with that day.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of this section, but subject to the provisions of the next following subsection, the report of the Commission for any period shall include a record of all questions with which the Commission have been concerned during that period and which appear to the Commission to be of general public interest, indicating the purport of any representations or recommendations made by the Commission with respect thereto; and the conclusions (if any) reached thereon.

(3) The report of the Commission for any period shall set out any direction given by the Minister during that period under the last foregoing section unless the Minister has notified to the Commission his opinion that it is against the interests of national security so to do.

(4) The Minister shall lay a copy of every report of the Commission under this section before each House of Parliament.

II National Parks

Part II

National Parks

S-5 National Parks.

5 National Parks.

(1) The provisions of this Part of this Act shall have effect for the purpose of preserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the areas specified in the next following subsection, and for the purpose of promoting their enjoyment by the public.

(2) The said areas are those extensive tracts of country in England and Wales as to which it appears to the Commission that by reason of—

( a ) their natural beauty, and

( b ) the opportunities they afford for open-air recreation, having regard both to their character and to their position in relation to centres of population,

it is especially desirable that the necessary measures shall be taken for the purposes mentioned in the last foregoing subsection.

(3) The said areas, as for the time being designated by order made by the Commission and submitted to and confirmed by the Minister, shall be known as, and are hereinafter referred to as, National Parks.

S-6 General duties of Commission in relation to National Parks.

6 General duties of Commission in relation to National Parks.

(1) It shall be the duty of the Commission as soon as may be after the commencement of this Act, and thereafter from time to time, to consider what areas there are in England and Wales falling within subsection (2) of the last foregoing section, to determine in what order they should be designated under subsection (3) of that section, and to proceed with their designation at such times as the Commission may determine.

(2) The power of the Minister to give directions under section three of this Act shall extend to the giving of directions as to the order and time of designation of the said areas, notwithstanding that the directions may be of a specific character.

(3) As respects areas designated as National Parks, it shall be the duty of the Commission—

( a ) to consider, generally and in relation to particular National Parks, in what way action needs to be taken under this Act and the Act of 1947 for the purposes specified in subsection (1) of the last foregoing section, and to make such recommendations with respect thereto to the Minister and to local authorities as may appear to the Commission to be necessary or expedient, and

( b ) to keep under review the progress made from time to time in accomplishing the said purposes and to make to the Minister or, where the Commission deem it appropriate, to any other Minister or any local authority or other persons, such representations as appear to the Commission to be necessary or expedient as to any matter affecting the accomplishment of those purposes.

(4) Without prejudice to the generality of the last foregoing subsection, it shall be the duty of the Commission, subject to and in accordance with the following provisions of this Act in that behalf,—

( a ) as respects any area designated as a National...

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