The Government is to explore ways to improve access to England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).
Environment secretary Michael Gove has appointed an independent panel chaired by the writer Julian Glover to conduct a wide-ranging review of England’s ten national parks and 34 AONBs.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the review will consider the case for enlarging areas and designating new ones. It will also explore “how access to these beloved landscapes can be improved, how those who live and work in them can be better supported, and their role in growing the rural economy”. The governance and financing of National Parks/AONBs also forms part of the terms of reference.
The Campaign for National Parks recently published a report highlighting the over-reliance on cars to access parks. It wants ministers to set up a ‘smarter travel National Park’ pilot scheme to promote car-free access (LTT 16 Mar).
Glover is associate editor at the London Evening Standard. He has worked as a leader writer and columnist at The Guardian and as a special adviser in Number 10 and the DfT. Last year he served as director for the Wolfson Economics Prize on new ways of paying for roads (LTT 21 Jul 17).
He is the civil partner of former Tory MP Matthew Parris, now a columnist for The Times. They have a home in the Peak District.
Glover will be supported by an advisory panel bringing together representatives from landscape, biodiversity, heritage, farming and rural backgrounds. Names will be announced in due course.
The review will report next year, the 70th anniversary of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, which provided the framework for the creation of National Parks and AONBs.
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