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Public to get more say on national park decisions

Posted 15 September 2011
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Public to get more say on national park decisions
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Ordinary members of the public who enjoy heading to the outdoors in their walking boots could be in a much stronger position to influence national park decision making processes under a new government pilot scheme.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has revealed plans to make anyone living in the Lake District or North York Moors national parks eligible to be elected to take up parish seats on the planning authority boards, from April 2013.

Up to now, only parish councillors have been allowed to take on such positions.

It means ordinary members of the public - rather than politicians - will be able to hold office and influence significant decisions, something that may boost those who like to go walking in the national parks, as well as enjoying other outdoor activities.

Natural Environment Minister, Richard Benyon said: "The changes we are making will give the local communities a greater say in how their National Park is managed."

National park authorities often have decisions to make on contentious issues, such as the controversial plans for a zipwire near the Honister Slate Mine that Lake District planners recently voted to block.