The Authority members at their meeting in February gave detailed consideration to all of the consultation responses made locally, and debated the issues at length.
The members agreed to recommend a number of changes to increase local accountability, these included:
- The criteria for the appointment of 12 local authority members should be made transparent;
- The role of the Secretary of State in formally appointing parish members should be removed to increase local accountability;
- The Secretary of State is to consult with the Authority, Verderers and New Forest Consultative Panel when selecting ‘national’ appointees.
The Authority members also recommended that subject to these changes being made, the size of the Authority should stay at 22 members, to ensure the members can continue to engage with local communities.
Julian Johnson, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘We welcome the comments and feedback we received from the 57 consultation responses relating to the New Forest. They highlighted the diversity of local opinion and provided the Authority with excellent feedback for improving its engagement and accountability.