The population of almost quarter of England is in imminent danger of losing the right to local democracy and representation.
The government is pushing ahead with implementing the proposals in Julian Glover’s Landscapes Review. In this it is proposed to create a new quango (non-departmental public body) called the National Landscapes Service to oversee the 44 National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) covering almost 24.5 per cent of England and with more planned (Glover Review page 20). The small Board of this Service would be appointed by Defra and would appoint all the Board members of the National Parks and AONBs. The Secretary of State would appoint the chairs of those Boards. (Glover Review page 140)
In addition, the Glover Review proposes that the Boards of National Parks should be reduced to between nine and 12. On June 20, to fend off this drastic cut, members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) agreed to reduce its membership from 25 to 16 – a move which one member described as Death of Democracy in the Dales.
The YDNPA CEO, David Butterworth, told members: The introduction of a National Landscape Service … is proceeding at an astonishing pace.’ And one member commented: ‘We have got an express train heading towards us.’ See: Death of Local Democracy in National Parks?
The National Landscape Service, as a non-departmental public body, will be filled with government appointed members who never need to be legitimised by the electorate, but can rely on governmental power and influence. There will be no democratic input or scrutiny.
And why do we need it? Because, the Review argues, the National Parks and AONBs are paid for out of our taxes. But this new body will also have to be paid for by taxpayers, just adding another layer of costs and bureaucracy.
Nor does it take into consideration the large cost of maintaining the infrastructure in National Parks and AONBs which is borne by local authorities; or that the vast majority of the maintenance of these special areas is carried out by farmers and landowners who own the land (NOT the government or the National Trust). Yet they will have even less democratic input than they have now. Like others living in these areas they will be disenfranchised at the local level.
Also see the response to the Glover Review by the North Yorkshire Moors NPA.
If you are concerned about this please do write to your MP.
When, in 2009, local newspapers stopped sending reporters to YDNPA meetings the Association of Rural Communities was very concerned at the lack of independent reporting especially as the YDNPA has such a major impact upon those living and working in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
It is very encouraged that there is now a Local Democracy Reporter (Stuart Minting) reporting on YDNPA meetings. Pip continues to post reports so as to continue as full a record as possible, especially of planning committee meetings.
Members of the Association’s committee regularly monitor and report on YDNPA planning meetings – see below.
The Association’s chairman, Alastair Dinsdale, has highlighted the importance of farmers to the beautiful landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.
YDNPA planning committee reports:
December 2019 – includes links to reports from the Full Authority meeting
In July 2019
In June 2019:
YDNPA – inconsistencies and gobbledygook – more from the October 2012 planning committee meeting
Full Authority Meetings:
Full Authority March 2019: there were two reports posted on the Richmondshire Today website written by the Local Democracy reporter – one concerning the approved plan for new local occupancy housing behind the Rose and Crown and the other regarding whether the YDNPA should go paperless or not.