Wales National Parks merger mooted

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority - which launched these successful posters - could be merged with the parks of Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority - which launched these successful posters - could be merged with the parks of Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons.

First published in County News

PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park could be merged with Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons as part of a Wales-wide review.

Speaking to the BBC at the Royal Welsh Show on Tuesday (July 22), environment minister John Griffiths said the review would be announced within weeks.

It will also look at stripping the park authorities of their planning powers – a proposal backed by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

“We’re looking at the governance - whether there may be direct elections for the councillors who sit on the national parks, for example, or whether there might be one national park for the whole of Wales as recommended by Williams,” said Mr Griffiths.

The Williams Commission review into reorganising councils published its recommendations earlier this year.

Mr Griffiths told the BBC the Welsh Government was “very concerned” to increase the focus on “sustainable development”.

In addition to governance, the review will also look at the functions of the national parks, Mr Griffiths said, but he would not be drawn on the future of the parks’ planning powers.

Speaking on behalf of National Parks Wales, Tegryn Jones, chief executive of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, said: “The Williams Commission review made a series of recommendations on the role of national park authorities in Wales and highlighted the vital role that the Park Authorities play in conserving National Parks and ensuring their future protection and development.

“The review also recognised that Wales’ national parks are important national assets, generating £1bn for the Welsh economy each year and attracting 12m visitors.

“The need for greater collaborative working, as outlined in the review, has already been recognised across the three National Park Authorities as well as with relevant local authorities and national bodies, and joint projects are being planned to provide the best and most efficient use of resources.

“The review did not, however, recommend that planning powers be removed from national park authorities.

“We welcome the Welsh Government’s governance review and look forward to supporting the review process to ensure that national parks in Wales continue to play a fundamental role in contributing to the success of Wales.”

South Pembrokeshire MP Simon Hart said any review that “makes the planning process simpler, cheaper, and more effective” and “strikes the right balance between protecting the landscape of the national park but also recognises the need for local communities to live and work in the area” had to be a good thing.

Comments (2)

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9:27am Fri 25 Jul 14

Gogledd says...

An excellent idea which might allow people to actually live and work in the NP without planning putting their nose in and stopping the development of businesses within the NP.
An excellent idea which might allow people to actually live and work in the NP without planning putting their nose in and stopping the development of businesses within the NP. Gogledd
  • Score: 2

4:04pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Evan Owen says...

Over 50% of Wales is a protected landscape for the benefit of visitors and of course the people who directly employed yet don't live in them, the residents are subject to what international human rights observers describe as "soft eviction" or "voluntary resettlement".

The boundaries need to be reviewed to include only what is absolutely necessary and that should mean excluding villages and towns, we can't even take advantage of recent relaxation on home improvements, if we can afford a home when in competition with the wealthy who love to say "I have a house in the national park".

Hands of our land. National Parks Reforms Group.
Over 50% of Wales is a protected landscape for the benefit of visitors and of course the people who directly employed yet don't live in them, the residents are subject to what international human rights observers describe as "soft eviction" or "voluntary resettlement". The boundaries need to be reviewed to include only what is absolutely necessary and that should mean excluding villages and towns, we can't even take advantage of recent relaxation on home improvements, if we can afford a home when in competition with the wealthy who love to say "I have a house in the national park". Hands of our land. National Parks Reforms Group. Evan Owen
  • Score: 0

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