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National park planning rules 'not being axed'

Posted 18 November 2011
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National park planning rules 'not being axed'
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Claims that planning restrictions in national parks are being relaxed have been denied by the government, something that may interest those who like to go walking there.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said an article in the Daily Telegraph claiming that planning rules will be relaxed is incorrect.

Defra stated: "This is just not true. There are no plans to relax planning laws in National Parks. They are our most treasured landscapes and will remain that way."

It also said the newspaper's claim that ministers wish to add a new element of responsibility for sustainable development to the remit of national park authorities is also inaccurate.

It noted that a proposal by the Commission for Rural Communities that national parks should have responsibility for "socio-economic development" did not find favour with ministers, although it is consulting on whether the responsibilities park authorities have should change.

At present, 9.3 per cent of England is covered by national parks, but this total will rise next year if environment secretary Caroline Spelman agrees to Natural England's recommendation that the boundaries of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales be extended.