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Review of National Parks – include residents in direct consultation

Comment 26th July 2010

Did you know that National Parks and National Park Authorities are 2 different things?

 

English National Parks are ‘National Treasures’ and should always remain so.  Many hundreds of thousands of people visit them each year – whether a day trip or for a holiday – National Parks are very special places, I know this because I am lucky to live on one!  These parks are National parks because they belong to the nation; they are unique; tranquil; accessible; educational – and free to use. 

 

A National Park Authority is an unelected body of members made up of DEFRA appointees and other unelected people who often do not even reside in their NP.  It has remained this way since the first National Park (The Peak District) was designated – way back in 1951.

 

Today, in 2010, residents of national parks have their first opportunity to change this democratic deficit through direct public consultation with DEFRA during their Review of the governance arrangements of these authorities. (July – December 2010).

 

Sadly, and from past experiences, we know we should never assume that government would consult at grass-roots level; which means we need to lobby for consultation opportunities during this Review – after all, we know more about where we live than perhaps unelected bureaucrats do and we are capable of meaningful discussions on our own future!

 

Please help us by supporting our petition to DEFRA to include residents/workers/visitors etc., in the consultation process of this Review.  We are not asking for the abolition of National Parks; we just want locally elected authority membership.

 

You can find the petition here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/onevoice/and we would be very grateful if you could send the link to friends and family please.

 

Thank you for your support.

Sue Baillie

ONE VOICE

http://www.onevoice.officeoverload.com/

 

Why does this matter?

The time has come for National Parks to be made accountable to the people it serves; it needs to have a locally elected membership from within its boundaries. Residents in National Parks do not have equality with other UK residents outside of National Parks who can elect the decision-makers in their LA's – and can equally de-select them at the next election if they don’t come up to scratch.

The current democratic deficit must not be allowed to continue. I look forward to seeing opportunities for meaningful public consultation in the upcoming “Review of National Parks Governance Arrangements” and hope that DEFRA will show a willingness to engage with the people of the national parks – after all, we know more about where we live than perhaps unelected bureaucrats do and we are capable of meaningful discussions on our own future!

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