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NFU responds to National Park ‘people power’ announcement


Plans to give local people more say in how the UKs National Parks are run are a step in the right direction, the NFU said today.

The Government announcement includes plans that will make anyone living in the Lake District and North York Moors eligible to take a parish seat on the National Park Authority. In addition, pilots set to take place in The New Forest and Peak District National Parks will use democratic local elections to decide who the members of their Park Authority will be.

The Government announcement comes as a result of the consultation on how National Parks should be cared for. The NFUs submission was strongly in favour of measures to make decision-making powers representative of the areas residents, especially in relation to agriculture, as it had been concerned that people who live in the parks were becoming increasingly marginalised from its governance. 

NFU chief environment adviser Dr Diane Mitchell said: As agriculture forms an integral part of the landscape of our National Parks, it is very important for authorities to appoint people who are representative of agriculture and the rural economy. Although agriculture may be the largest land user in National Parks, we believe that it is not always adequately or well represented.

This announcement is a step in the right direction. However, we think government could have gone further – there is almost certainly a need for agriculture to be better represented on National Park governance boards andto foster the economic and social well-being of local communities. But, overall, this is a progressive step forward.


The changes announced by Defra are expected to come into effect from April 2013, following consultation and pending legislative approvals.

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