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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Review into National Park governance arrangements

A review has been launched today (Tuesday 9 November) by the Government to look at how National Parks are governed.

The 12-week national consultation will be facilitated at a local level by the New Forest National Park Authority, who will be encouraging local residents, groups and organisations to take part.

The review will look at ways in which the governance of National Park Authorities can be made more effective.

The Authority, who is leading the consultation locally on behalf of the Government, has arranged the following events across the New Forest for people to learn more about the review and pick up a copy of the Government’s consultation document:

  • 2pm – 8pm, Tuesday 30 November, Brockenhurst Village Hall, Highwood Road, Brockenhurst;
  • 2pm – 8pm, Tuesday 7 December, New Forest Centre, main car park, Lyndhurst;
  • 2pm – 8pm, Thursday 9 December, Landford Village Hall, Lyndhurst Road, Landford; and
  • 2pm – 8pm, Wednesday 15 December, Hyde Memorial Hall, Blissford Hill, Hyde

As well as making material available for people to read and discuss with Authority officers and members, a formal presentation and question and answer session will be held at 3pm and repeated at 7pm at each venue on these dates.

Julian Johnson, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This is an extremely important consultation that affects everyone who lives in a National Park. We want to engage with as many people who have an interest in the New Forest National Park as possible to enable them to have their say. We would encourage people to attend the events and speak to one of our officers or members.’

The review includes whether any changes should be made to the membership of National Park Authorities, which was originally established in the Environment Act 1995.

In line with this Act, the New Forest National Park Authority currently has 22 members, consisting of 12 members appointed by the local authorities with land in the National Park (Hampshire County Council, Wiltshire Council, New Forest District Council and Test Valley Borough Council); four members appointed by the Town and Parish Councils within the National Park; and six appointed by the Government through an open recruitment process.

The national consultation runs until 1 February 2011 and following the consultation, Government Ministers will consider if any changes are required nationally, or whether changes can be made at the local level. For more information on the governance review, including the Defra consultation document, please visit http://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/  or www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/nationalpark-governance/index.htm

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