The NPAs were set up to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the national parks and to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of their special qualities by the public. Though not nationally owned, the parks are 'national' in recognition of their special value - their beauty and the opportunities they provide for leisure and recreation - to the public.
The Broads Authority, which has the same status as a national park, is a special organisation which also manages the land and water space and promotes public enjoyment of the Broads. It has an additional responsibility to protect the interests of navigation on the Broads.
- have a good understanding of the issues affecting the national park and be prepared to work to achieve the Park's purposes
- be able to contribute positively to debate within the national park authority
- be ready to make decisions on many aspects of park management including conservation, planning, housing, recreation, agriculture, forestry and resource issues
- be able to commit a minimum time input of 2 to 3 days per month.
Environment minister Michael Meacher said: 'The national parks and the Broads contain some of our finest landscapes - each with their own special characteristics: dramatic expanses of wild open country, moorland, mountains and fells, lakes and waterfalls, gentle river valleys, meadows, fens and waterways. The people that we are looking for - the new secretary of state members - will have a special role to play in the authorities that are responsible for the conservation and enhancement of these nationally important areas.
'The membership of the authorities must include the right balance of personal qualities and experience, so I am looking for candidates from a broad range of backgrounds, representative of the social and cultural mix in the country at large. I am particularly keen to see more applications from women, members of the ethnic minorities and promising young people - groups which are currently under-represented on the authorities.
'I will not just be seeking those with formal qualifications and long track records in conventional careers, but will be keen to receive applications from those with other kinds of experience, such as that gained through community or voluntary work.'
There are seven national park authorities in England: Dartmoor; Exmoor; the Lake District; Northumberland; North York Moors; the Peak District; and the Yorkshire Dales. The Broads is a national park in all but name.
The secretary of state appoints a number of members to each authority to represent the national interests of the parks, and, at a local level, parish interests. The remaining members are appointed by the local authorities with land in the parks. The next national secretary of state appointments are due on 1 April 1999 (1 June 1999 in the Broads).
Members are expected to contribute positively to debate within the national park authority and to make decisions on many aspects of ;ark management including conservation, planning, housing, recreation, agriculture, forestry and resource issues. secretary of state members are not paid but they are eligible for travel and other expenses incurred in the course of their appointments. Members are expected to commit a minimum time input of 2 to 3 days per month, the majority of which is within normal working hours.
Michael Meacher has written to all MPs with constituency interests in the English national parks and the Broads, inviting nominations for consideration as national secretary of state members of the park authorities and the Broads authority. A wide range of organisations have also been invited to submit nominations. Nominations are required by the closing date of 31 October 1998. All those with an interest in the parks are encouraged to put forward names for consideration. Self nomination is allowed.
Nomination forms can be obtained from the Countryside Division of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Room 916, Tollgate House, Houlton Street, BRISTOL BS2 9DJ, Tel: 0117 987 8897