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National park expansions face council opposition

Posted 29 September 2011
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National park expansions face council opposition
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Those who like to go walking in Cumbria will not be doing so in enlarged national parks if the county council gets its way.

Councillors have voiced strong opposition to Natural England's recommendation that the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District national parks be extended.

Both expansions would mean more of the county being in national parks and cabinet member responsible for environment Tim Knowles said the authority will fight the plans "tooth and nail".

He argued Natural England is treating Cumbria as a "nice place to holiday rather than somewhere to live and have a sustainable economy", predicting a rise in house prices and claiming the decision - made by an unelected body in Sheffield - is "anti-democratic".

The council also argues that having an appointed national park authority making decisions once down to elected representatives is also "undemocratic".

Cllr Knowles asked: "At what point will local voices be properly heard in this consultation?"

However, Natural England may point to public support for the proposed extensions, with its consultation earlier this year showing 68 per cent in favour.