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Lizzie Bushby-2022

Becoming a National Park Authority Member

Friday 27 January, 2023, by Comms Team

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is administered by an Authority of 25 Members.

  • 15 are appointed from the local County Councils and District Councils
  • 10 are appointed by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Of these 10, six are known as ‘national’ appointments, in recognition of the national status of the area, and are chosen following an open recruitment exercise conducted by Defra on behalf of the Secretary of State. Vacancies are advertised in the press and on this website.

The Secretary of State is looking for people who have a wider perspective of the issues facing National Parks, and experience in a combination of fields. Members will be selected for their personal abilities. In some cases preference will be given to those who have a particular expertise which the Authority may be lacking. Key functions and expectations of Members are outlined here.

One of more recent appointees was Lizzie Bushby who has spoken about why she applied to become a Member and her experience of the recruitment process.

About Lizzie

Lizzie Bushby became a Member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority as a Secretary of State appointee on 1 July 2022. She was additionally appointed Member Champion for Recreation Management in December 2022 and is responsible for working closely with National Park Authority officers involved in a broad range of work programmes, including recreation management, rights of way, volunteering and dark skies. among others.

Lizzie is a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute, and her professional work contributes to protecting, conserving and enhancing the built and natural environment for public benefit.      

Why I applied

I am passionate about people and places, and how landscape planning, design and management can contribute to mitigating the climate and biodiversity emergencies, as well as making people feel happier and healthier. I love the Yorkshire Dales and have a wider interest in protected landscapes, so when I saw the role advertised on social media one evening it really appealed to me. Even though I thought it looked really interesting, I didn’t seriously think about putting in an application until a week or so later, once I had persuaded myself that the application process alone would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about National Parks and how they are governed and managed.

My experience of the public appointments recruitment process

My experience of the recruitment process was fairly straightforward. I applied in March 2022, and received a phone call during April inviting me to interview in early May. As part of the interview I was asked to prepare a short presentation, without any visual aids, on how the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (NPA) should respond to the challenges and opportunities it will face over the next five years. I was interviewed by three people via Teams, including the NPA Chair. I didn’t hear anything for a while, until one Friday afternoon in June I got a call from Defra to say they would like to appoint me.

A normal day for an NPA member

I’m not sure there is a ‘normal’ day for an NPA Member! My commitments are around two days a month, but this fluctuates. I am able to fulfil these around my full-time job, and for someone who is mainly home based post-Covid. I love the days I get to spend in the Yorkshire Dales. I go to the NPA office in Bainbridge for meetings including full NPA meetings (4 x a year), Planning Committee (every 6 weeks) and Audit & Review Committee (3 x a year). Papers are issued a couple of weeks ahead of each meeting and I read these to prepare in the evening or at weekends. We also have occasional project updates or training via Teams, and it’s always great to hear about the good work the NPA is doing. Recently I have been appointed as Member Champion for Recreation Management and I am looking forward to getting myself up to speed with this role over the next couple of months so I can support the NPA’s work in this area. I’ve got several things in my diary already, including site visits, which I’m very happy about.

Highlights of the role so far

Last October I was invited to join a three-day induction course for new members of National Parks across England at The Sill in Northumberland National Park. This was a fantastic and really inspiring three days where I was able to meet Members from other National Parks, discuss the big issues we face in the next few years, and explore how Members can be most effective. Waking up early for a sunrise walk along Hadrian’s Wall to find Sycamore Gap was an optional bonus!

Advice for applicants

Put in an application! We need a wide range of outlooks from a variety of people with different perspectives to be able to provide the best possible outcomes for everyone. So even if you feel you need more experience before applying, you might be just what the National Park Authority is looking for. Think carefully about your skills and experience and how these might be relevant, and make sure you include this in your application. You can find out more about the role of NPA Members here. Good luck!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Comms Team

Our Communications Team love to enthuse about all things Yorkshire Dales

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