playing in the revival of the rural economy will be boosted by an
almost 8 per cent increase in national parks funding from April,
rural affairs minister Alun Michael has announced.
This follows the 18 per cent increase the parks received last year.
The money will also help the parks prepare for land to be opened for
public access under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
Mr Michael said:
'The total grant for national parks for 2003/4 will amount to
£35.56m, which represents an increase of 8 per cent on this year, and
that was an increase of 18 per cent on the previous year.
'This further strengthens the government's commitment to the national
parks. The settlement will provide more funds for conservation and
initiatives to promote recreational opportunities as well as enabling
the parks to play a leading role in the rural revival.
'We have provided£2m to fund the systems the parks will need to put
in place to manage the new rights of access arising from the
Countryside and Rights of Way Act, as well as dealing with associated
restrictions and exclusions.
'That access will be brought forward by several months in many areas
after my announcement today that we will introduce a rolling
programme which will ensure that some regions will open for access
well before the mid-2005 deadline we have set ourselves.
'The Sustainable Development Fund, which is included in the total
figure, will increase from£1m to£1.6m. This enables the parks to
fund projects in the community aimed at developing and testing news
ways of achieving more sustainable living.'
1. The increase in National Park Grant for next year (2003/4) will be
£2.57m, giving a total of£35.56m. This is a rise of 7.8 per cent on
last year's grant, including an extra£1.6m which was provided
through the Sustainable Development Fund.
2. Mr Michael also announced that access to mountain, moor, heath
and downland would be introduced in a rolling programme, which means
some areas opening several months ahead of schedule.
3. The allocations for each authority are shown in the table below.
Broads 2,801,437 2,996,877
Dartmoor 3,721,705 3,977,323
Exmoor 3,059,765 3,318,950
Lakes 5,460,856 5,907,102
Northumberland 2,419,922 2,682,555
North York Moors 4,224,936 4,477,842
Peak District 6,721,617 7,161,069
Yorkshire Dales 4,583,616 * 5,037,283 *
Total 32,993,854 35,559,000
* Includes£0.5m for new accommodation.