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A long wait...
3:18pm Friday 30th September 2011 in Leader
THE Government has published its intentions relating to the governance of our national parks. In doing so, it has opened a can of worms about who gets to be on our national park committees.
Nothing will happen imminently, at least not in our neck of the woods. There will be four-year pilots in the New Forest and Peak District parks for directly-elected members and then the Government will have a think about the experiment.
A decision might not be taken until 2010.
It seems a long time to wait for some fairly straightforward democratic reforms, but, of course, nothing is simple with our national parks, essentially hybrid local authorities with a national obligation to fulfil.
One aspect that seems obviously awry with the pilots is the idea of directly-elected members sitting alongside members appointed by local councils.
It surely will not be long before somebody will claim “my democratic mandate is stronger than yours.”
In the face of the other troubles the county faces, national park governance may not rank very highly on anybody’s list of priorities. But we wish the Government could have been bolder in making the national parks more obviously democratic organisations rather than kicking the issue into long grass – or the highest hills.