Reducing local representation on the Board of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority would be a ‘disaster’, the Authority’s chairman, Carl Lis, has said.
He has today released a statement backing the Authority’s Audit and Review Committee, which has decided to oppose governance changes proposed in the Government-commissioned Landscapes Review (see ‘Proposal 26’ on p.140).
The Audit and Review Committee has accepted and supported the need for an overall cut in the size of the Board. However, it is recommending that the level of local representation be maintained.
The committee’s recommendations (which can see here) will be considered at the next full Authority meeting on 31 March.
Mr Lis said: “The Landscapes Review concluded that the constitution and operation of National Park Authority Boards was poor; they were too large, lacked diversity and lacked people who emphasised the purpose of conserving nature and connecting people with National Parks.
“The Landscapes Review has proposed that National Park Boards are made smaller (9-12) and are made up entirely of Members appointed directly by Government – removing all local representation. I think that would be a disaster.
“Before the Government commissioned the Landscapes Review, we were already examining the issue because we recognised that the Board was too large and the current arrangements were unfair and unbalanced following the extension of the National Park boundary in 2016.”
“The Authority’s Audit and Review Committee has recommended a cut in the size of the Board from 25 to 16 Members. However, it is also recommending that the level of local representation is maintained, and even strengthened, with greater sway given to Members appointed from local Parish Councils. 12 of the 16 Members will be appointed to represent the 23,000 people who live in the Park. These will come from the County, District and Parish Councils. I back that approach.
“It’s vital now that we can demonstrate very clearly to Government that there is a way to retain strong local input but still run a National Park Authority in a more efficient and cost-effective way for taxpayers.”