Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

Peak District National Park Authority announces Ken Smith new chair

This is an archived press release

Monday 10 July 2023

New PDNPA chair, Ken Smith

The Peak District National Park Authority has announced a new chair, following its Annual General Meeting held on Friday 7 July.

Ken Smith, a Secretary of State-appointed Member will take up the position following the stepping down of Andrew McCloy after five years in the role and 12 years as an elected Member at the Authority. James Berresford will continue as Deputy Chair.

Other appointments confirmed at the AGM include Patrick Brady continuing as chair of the Authority’s planning committee with Ginny Priestly as vice, and Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser also continuing as chair of the Performance & Resources (P&R) committee with Charles Greaves as vice.

Newly appointed chair Ken Smith was formerly the Authority’s lead on Cultural Heritage, a role held at the end of an extensive 35-year career at the National Park.

Since initially joining the Authority in 1982, Mr Smith also undertook national roles across archaeological and heritage management, with a strategic focus on the benefits of the nation’s historic environment.

A trained archaeologist, Mr Smith’s experience has encompassed planning and mineral development, farming, communities, landscape, climate change and cultural heritage while also touching on information/communication, biodiversity, economy, tourism and access.

Mr Smith has held advisory positions at the National Trust and Historic England, and is chair of trustees at the Council for British Archaeology and a member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and Council for British Archaeology. Locally, Ken is also Hon. Vice-President of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society and chair of both the Bakewell and District Historical Society and the Hunter Archaeological Society.

Ken Smith said: "Our national parks have a multiplicity of local, regional and national issues that impact upon them. This is perhaps no more evident than here in the Peak District where there is a constant balancing act between the needs of the visitor, those who live, work and do business here, and the duties rightly placed upon us as an Authority to safeguard landscapes and our natural and cultural heritage in the face of global issues such as climate change.

"These responsibilities and pressures have been stressed close to their limits in recent years through an unprecedented pandemic and the need for continued delivery within budgets that are without question reducing significantly in real terms.

"It is the mark of any organisation, its colleagues and partnerships, in how these turbulent periods are navigated. Now, as chair, I look forward to taking on the bold ambitions of our new Management Plan, Landscape Strategy and more, whilst ensuring our cultural heritage also receives justifiable recognition as one of the Peak District’s defining characteristics alongside the landscape and its biodiversity."

Following the announcement, Authority chief executive Phil Mulligan said: “I’d like to warmly welcome Ken to the role of chair and also extend my sincere thanks to Andrew McCloy for more than a decade as Member and most recently helping steer the Authority through some of the most challenging times in its history, as chair.

"Ken’s record as an advocate for our protected landscapes and the highly cherished cultural heritage within them already speaks for itself. With the Peak District firmly at the heart of Ken’s former 35-year career with us I look forward to tackling both the challenges, and grasping the exciting opportunities ahead as we embark on a new Management Plan and wider national spotlight on what our national parks deliver for the nation."

In a departing note of thanks to staff and Members, former chair Andrew McCloy confirmed he will continue as a trustee for the Campaign for National Parks as well as taking up a new role with the Youth Hostels Association.

This is an archived press release

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