Campaigners welcome Welsh Government statement on designated landscapes

Yesterday [13 March 2018], the Minister for the Environment in the Welsh Government, Hannah Blythyn, confirmed that the purposes of Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Parks would be retained. In a statement to the Senedd Ms Blythyn said:

“While I do not discount the symbolism of a new economic purpose, I have seen insufficient evidence that the existing purposes are a barrier to practical delivery. For that reason, and given the uncertain context, I am not prepared to pursue a change of this nature at this time without broader support.

Therefore I intend to retain the existing purposes of National Parks, along with the ‘Sandford Principle’, and retain the existing purpose of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

Cader Idris, Snowdonia National Park

Cader Idris, Snowdonia National Park. Photo credit: Snowdonia National Park Authority

The statement also committed the Welsh Government to publishing a policy statement in the coming months, which will bring the review process to a close.

The future of designated landscapes had been under question since 2013, including recent proposals to remove the Sandford Principle. This lead to Campaign for National Parks, the Alliance for Welsh Designated Landscapes, the UK Assessment Panel of the IUCN and other organisations to raise concerns about the potential implications for the protections and recognition for these important areas.

Campaign for National Park met with the Minister in January to discuss these concerns, which appear to have been addressed by the statement.

Fiona Howie, chief executive of Campaign for National Parks, said: “We are pleased that the Minister has listened and responded to the many concerns that were raised by the proposals consulted on in 2017. We await the policy statement referred to in the statement, and note the possibility of further legislation, but we welcome the clear statement that the purposes and Sandford Principle will be retained.”

“We also welcomed the emphasis in the discussion about the need for the National Parks to be accessible. Campaign for National Parks has a longstanding record of introducing new audiences to the National Parks, and we are also working to make the Parks easier to access and enjoy without a private vehicle. We are, therefore, encouraged to see the Minister urge National Parks to reach out to new groups and realise their full potential.”

 

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