The Campaign for new National Park legislation in the 1990s

Campaign for National Parks Vice President, Lord Norrie, reflects on the campaign to secure new National Park legislation in the 1990s

I have been involved in several environmental charities but my work with the Campaign (then Council) for National Parks in the 1990s is amongst the most memorable and rewarding, and helped to secure enduring protection for these special places and greater independence from local government.

We drew our strength from the findings of an independent review of National Parks published in 1991 that had been led by the late Professor Ron Edwards, which found that National Parks were in need of both greater independence and a new purpose.

I joined forces with Campaign for National Parks’s then President and world-renowned mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington, with whom I shared a keen determination to leave the National Parks with the most robust framework in law.  We were soon to realise that this ambition would not be achieved without overcoming some major challenges – not everyone was convinced that National Parks needed new legislation, and indeed some camps were vehemently opposed.

Chris and I – together and separately – toured round all the National Parks in England and Wales.  He spent much of his time appearing on TV and radio to argue the cause while I beavered away seeing the legislation through the House of Lords, firstly through my Private Member’s Bill, on which we secured government support, and then through the 1995 Environment Bill, which was largely based on my bill.

Working with the excellent staff at Campaign for National Parks and with a lot of support from Peers from all sides of the House, we succeeded in leaving behind a legacy for the Parks that still holds firm today: new purposes; new independent bodies to run them and a strong consensus about their protection.

Image: Ray Manley, PDNPA - The limestone dales of the White Peak support magnificent displays of wildflowers in spring and summer