This is an archived press release
Tuesday 1 April 2008
1 April 2008
Authority bids farewell to former national park chair
The Peak District National Park Authority expressed deep gratitude to its former chair Tony Hams as he finished his 10-year appointment as a member. (March 31)
Government-appointee Mr Hams chaired the authority for five years until last July, taking it through some momentous events in the national park’s history.
He led the celebrations when the ground-breaking Countryside and Rights of Way Act received its national launch in the Peak District in 2004, giving open access to vast stretches of moors and heathland previously closed to walkers.
He also helped develop the Moors for the Future partnership, which is leading the way on moorland research and restoration, tackling climate change and conserving rare habitats.
He was chair for the launch of the New Environmental Economy programme and Sustainable Development Fund which have supported hundreds of innovative, eco-friendly Peak District businesses and organisations.
Mr Hams nurtured better relationships with parish councils, and fought strongly when the Government wanted to reduce all national park authorities to 22 members. As a result the Peak District now has 30 members, representing its huge cross-section of geographical, rural and urban areas.
He brought Government ministers to Longstone Edge to raise the national profile of an ongoing dispute over alleged harmful quarrying. And though disappointed that this has yet to be resolved, he is pleased that another lengthy quarry dispute, at Lees Cross and Endcliffe on Stanton Moor, now looks close to solution.
A former international sustainable development representative, he was awarded an OBE for services to sustainable development in 2000.
As he stepped down, Mr Hams said: “It’s been an honour to have been associated with the authority over the past 10 years. Living in the national park and also being a Secretary of State-appointed member, I’ve been able to understand both the national viewpoint and how that impacts on the people who live here.
“I’ve also been privileged to work with other members from outside and inside the park, whose rich diversity represents all who live, work and visit here.”
The authority’s current chair, Narendra Bajaria, paid warm tribute to his predecessor: “Tony has taken this authority through some major changes and his integrity and commitment to the whole national park movement have been inspirational. We thank Tony for everything he has done for this national park and for being an exemplary leader.”
Mr Hams, who lives in Tideswell with his wife and son, will continue his environmental work as a board-member of Natural England.
- Tony Hams is a former chair of the Association of National Park Authorities and a member of East Midlands Heritage Lottery Fund committee. He is also a trustee and board member of the Green Alliance and board member of Sport England (East Midlands).
- Mr Hams worked in local government for over 20 years in rural, recreational and environmental planning, then for 10 years with the Association of Metropolitan Authorities and the Local Government Management Board on national and international sustainable development policy.
- He was a Government delegate to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio and the UN Commission for Sustainable Development 1993 - 1998 and he set up and managed the UK Local Agenda 21 initiative.
- A long distance walker, his other interests are good architecture and design, Italy, Liverpool FC and family life in the Peak District.