After years of feeling that national parks were on the defensive in the face of government funding cutbacks and threats of weakened planning controls, the review announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove in May is welcome. It covers both National Parks such as the Peak District and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), which have a lower level of protection.
The review will look at how these designated landscapes meet the needs of the 21st-century, including whether there is scope for the existing network of 10 English national parks and 34 AONBs to expand. It will also explore how access can be improved, how those who live and work there can be better supported and what their role is in growing the rural economy. The Government has stated clearly that existing protections will not be weakened or undermined. Other areas for consideration are how these designated areas can boost wildlife, support the recovery of natural habitat and connect more people with nature.
The review is being led by a panel of seven people. Three of whom are closely connected to the peak district: its leader Julian Glover (Buxton Festival Trustee and resident of Elton); former Peak District Authority Chief Executive Jim Dixon and our Friends of the Peak District President Dame Fiona Reynolds.
We are working with our national partners, CPRE and the Campaign for National Parks, on evidence that we should be putting to the review.
We are thinking about issues such as:
- Extensions to national parks
- The adequacy of existing planning controls
- Access to national parks by public transport
- How housing needs should be met, and
- How wildlife should be better protected and enhanced
The Government’s call for evidence closes 18 December.
If you have any views on any of these matters, which you would like us to consider, please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of November 2018.
Or click here to have your say via the Government online survey.