Park has been announced by the government.
The planning inquiry is a normal phase of decision making during the designation process. In response to a Parliamentary Question, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs Margaret Beckett said:
'Under Schedule 1 to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside
Act 1949, an inquiry must be held into the Designation Order if a
local authority has objected and the objection has not been
withdrawn. Several local authorities have lodged objections, which
are being maintained. A letter is being sent to all those who have
made objections or representations, advising them that a local
inquiry is to be held and what the scope of the inquiry will be. The
inquiry is expected to start in October.'
The inquiry will hear representations on the need for a national park
to protect the natural beauty of the area, the opportunities to
provide for open-air recreation and whether the land within the
boundary meets the criteria for national parks. In addition,
representations about the management and administration measures for
a possible national park authority will be heard, including views on
the advice provided to the government by the Countryside Agency.
1. In 1999 ministers asked the Countryside Agency to consider
designating the New Forest as a national park. Having undertaken
work to identify a boundary for the Park and to consider the
administrative arrangements required to meet the special
circumstances of the New Forest, the agency has submitted a
Designation Order to the secretary of state DEFRA for confirmation.
2. The Designation Order was put on public deposit from 22 February
to 25 March to enable people to make representations to the Order.
A total of 374 were received, including from eight local
authorities, seven of which have raised objections. Under the
National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, an inquiry
must be called if a local authority maintains an objection to the
Order. The scope of the inquiry, expected to start in October, is
given in the attached letter announcing the inquiry.
3. The current national parks in England are Dartmoor, Exmoor, the
Lake District, the North York Moors, Northumberland, the Peak
District and the Yorkshire Dales. Each of them has a national park
authority, which looks after conservation issues and helps people
to understand and enjoy their special qualities, as well as seeking
to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities
in the parks. The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads has a similar status
to a national park but is set up under separate legislation.
4. National parks budgets come from the government, 75% direct in
the form of National Parks Grant and the remaining 25% through the
revenue support grant to local authorities. Membership of a
National Park Authority is drawn mainly from local interests -
constituent local authorities appoint one half plus one of members;
the secretary of state appoints the rest, of which half minus one
come forward through a process of local democracy to represent
parish interests. The remainder represent national interests. On a
typical national park authority of 26 members, this results in 14
local authority appointees, five secretary of state appointees to
represent parish interests and seven secretary of state appointees to
represent the national interest.
Our reference: NPS 4/10/4
21 May 2002
PROPOSED NEW FOREST NATIONAL PARK
1. I am writing on behalf of the Secretary of State to inform you
that a local inquiry will be held to hear objections and
representations made to the New Forest National Park (Designation)
Order 2002. The inquiry is likely to open in October this year.
2. The objections made to the Order include several from local
authorities. If these are not withdrawn, paragraph 2(2)(a) of the
First Schedule to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside
Act 1949 requires an inquiry be held.
3. As set out below, the inquiry will address issues about the land
within the proposed boundary of the National Park and the separate
but related issue of the establishment and operation of a New
Forest National Park Authority.
National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
The land within the proposed boundary of the National Park
4. The questions to be addressed in relation to the land are:
(i) Does the area as a whole enclosed within the proposed boundary
meet the criteria and purposes of designation as a National Park
set out in the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act
- The criteria for National Parks are that they should be extensive
tracts of country which it appears to the Countryside Agency that
by reason of:
(a) their natural beauty;
(b) the opportunities they afford for open-air recreation, having
regard both to their character and to their position in relation to
centres of population; it is especially desirable that the
necessary measures shall be taken for the purposes set out beneath.
National Parks are designated for the purposes of:
(a) conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and
cultural heritage of the designated areas;
(b) promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of
the special qualities of those areas by the public.
(ii) Should the boundary be altered to include or exclude any areas
specifically referred to by objectors to the Order, bearing in mind
the criteria and purposes of designation.
5. The above should be regarded as the Secretary of State's
statement of matters which she considers relevant to her
consideration of the Order at the inquiry.
Environment Act 1995
The establishment and operation of a New Forest National Park
6. The question here is:
(iii) Is a National Park Authority appropriate in the New Forest
and, if so, how might it best be established and operate?
- The designation of a National Park under the National Parks and
Access to the Countryside Act 1949 raises the separate but related
issue of appropriate management and administration measures. In the
case of all existing National Parks these are provided for by a
National Park Authority established under the Environment Act 1995.
We have decided that it would be helpful for the inquiry into the
Designation Order to be extended to consider representations into
management and administration measures, including the Countryside
Agency's advice on how a National Park Authority might operate to
recognise the special characteristics of the New Forest.
7. We have asked the Planning Inspectorate to organise and manage
the inquiry on our behalf. They will be the point of contact for
all questions about the inquiry process. The Planning Inspectorate
will write to you shortly with further details about the contact
points and next steps.
Countryside (Recreation and Landscape) Division 1