Friends of the Lakes respond to CLA blog on Lakes to Dales extensions

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“Tougher planning rules and other regulations in National Parks can inhibit rural enterprise, ultimately at the expense of people who derive their living from the land.”

Marion Temple, Chair of Friends of the Lake District writes a response to Dorothy Fairburn’s blog ‘Answers needed for extended park plan’ about the Lakes to Dales extensions.

I am compelled to write in response as I can’t help feeling that we’re going over old ground yet again. I would like to reiterate that following two major consultations and a Public Inquiry held in June 2013, the wider remit of our National Parks to foster the economic and social well-being of their communities through planning policy and decision-making was clearly established and should not be in doubt now. 

Each National Park Authority (NPA) has to balance the long-term conservation of nature with benefiting visitors and those who live within the Park. There are significant economic benefits from protecting landscape, with a huge multiplier between the investment and the money this brings into the more remote and emptier parts of the county where people still live and earn their living.

I would like to refer once again to a passionate plea given at the Public Inquiry by Kyle Blue, Chairman of Orton Parish Council. His was not an individual plea but one representing key supporters including Parish and Town Councils, local businesses, farmers and landowners, conservation and recreational organisations and individuals living in the proposed extension areas.

“We are firmly of the view that National Park status will benefit our villages, local businesses and the farmers who manage the landscape. The beauty of our area speaks for itself and yet our needs often get overlooked by the current organisations. We have this once in a lifetime opportunity to draw the Park boundaries correctly, and we hope that the Government listens to the overwhelming level of support backing the extension proposals.”

What is most relevant in planning terms today is that, following August 1st and adoption of the Park extensions, the NPA’s already have clear guidelines set out.

The opposition attending the original Public Inquiry which included Cumbria County Council, major land owners in the Lune valley, the National Farmers Union, the Country Land and Business Association and some individuals, presented their views and evidence to the Inspector, and he then found in favour of the extensions.

Importantly, both the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authorities produced statements setting out exactly what their role is and the work they do, demonstrating how well they work with their local communities and businesses in the best interests of the areas.

It is important – vital of course – that the concerns of landowners are taken on board but we should have faith in our NPA’s. It is heartening to read that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is listening to the concerns of landowners and introducing new policies to address them.

The local knowledge and expertise of our NPA’s will only serve to enhance our flexibility for change and not stifle it.

I for one am reassured that management and planning delivered by local and sympathetic organisations already heading up two of our most cherished National Parks will serve to foster the economic and social well-being of communities within the extension areas.

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Please note, the opinions expressed in this and all our blogs are of the author, and not endorsed by Campaign for National Parks. We are hosting blogs on a variety of subjects to provoke thought and discussion about National Parks.