This is an archived press release
Monday 20 June 2011
The Peak District National Park Authority is recommending to the Government that it keeps its full membership of 30 to make sure all areas of the national park are represented.
It also plans to streamline its decision-making to give members more time to listen to and support national park residents, businesses and communities.
The Authority’s recommendation is in response to a three-month public consultation by Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) asking for people’s views on changing the governance arrangements for national parks in England.
It took into consideration the views of more than 50 local people, councils and organisations who also responded to the Defra consultation. They raised a range of issues, including the size of the Authority, direct elections for local members, more locally-based members, greater accountability, better communication with individuals and communities, and particular concerns over planning and ‘off-roading.’
Five years ago, after a similar review, the previous Government ordered reduced memberships for all English national park authorities, cutting the number of Peak District members from 38 to 30.
The majority of Peak District National Park Authority members are councillors -16 are appointed by the national park’s 11 constituent councils, and six represent the 125 parishes. The remaining eight members are selected for their expertise in wider national park issues after applying and being interviewed by Defra.
Authority chair Narendra Bajaria said: “The Peak District is a huge and diverse area with many districts to represent. We have informed Defra that we agreed with local district and county council leaders who wanted us to keep the full complement of 30 members. Only this way can we ensure local people are properly represented in all parts of the national park.
“We are also improving our efficiency by merging two of our committees and reducing the number of members with special responsibilities. This will free more time for members to play an active role in communities and to respond to the needs of local people.
“Defra has already said that national park authorities provide good value for money, and we want to provide even more.”
Defra is considering all the responses to its public consultation and will make a final decision on any changes by the end of March.