ONE VOICE Press Release
7 July 2010
Abolition of the New Forest National Park Authority has been something that many people in the New Forest have wanted since the authority was formed. The argument has often been that the Forest has been run by several tiers of local government for a considerable period of time and “if it ain’t broke – why mend it”.
Bill is to empower the Secretary of State to abolish National
Park Authorities; and for connected purposes. There are two ways of looking at this:
If the Bill runs its course, then the Secretary of State will have the option to abolish National Park Authorities when reviewing the Governance Arrangements for National Parks.
If it falls at the first hurdle, then it would still give a level of uncertainty within NPs and may show that a compromise of locally elected members would be a more palatable option for them.
Either option would address the democratic deficit within the authority, which can only be a good thing for the people of the New Forest.
Roads, Public rights of way, Public car parking, Tourism, business and economic development, Collecting litter, Disposing of/recycling waste, Managing the land, Commoning and common rights and Animal accidents are all responsibilities of existing authorities and local government. The NFNPA only appear to have sole responsibility for planning within its boundaries. It concerns me that 14 of the authority’s 22 unelected members are on the Planning & Development Control Committee. It also concerns me that the current authority members wear a combined total of 86 “other hats”.
Yes, we need conservation in the New Forest but we already have SSSI’s, AONB’s etc which already protect it. I believe the best outcome would be to have National Park status without an administrative authority. Hopefully the Private Members Bill will facilitate this.