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FUNDING FOR NATIONAL PARKS AND BROADS AUTHORITIES WILL BOOST RURAL REVIVAL

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The central part that national parks and the broads authority are...
The central part that national parks and the broads authority are

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.'

NOTES

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.

2002/03 2003/04

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.

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