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Minister turns his back on democratic reform for national parks- Farron

July 20, 2009 12:00 AM

South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has accused the government of "turning their back" on democratic reform after announcing that they would not be introducing partial direct elections to the National Park Committees.

The announcement was made in a written ministerial statement delivered by Minister Huw Irranca-Davies, following the end of the consultation process into the introduction of direct elections for a proportion of National Park and Broad Authorities members.

Mr Farron, who represents large parts of two of Britain's most important national parks, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, also expressed his disappointment at the anti-democratic manner in which the announcement was made.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"An announcement of this importance should be made in the House of Commons and not snuck out the back door. Instead we got an anti-democratic decision delivered in an anti-democratic way. Our National Parks should be democratically accountable-they should not be able to get away with opting not to be open to election.

"The experience of National Parks in Scotland has shown that elected members to National Park Committees enhance the democratic accountability of the Authorities' work and encourages cooperation and engagement of the local communities.

"The communities in the Lakes and the Dales that are affected by national park decisions are entitled to have their say over how those decisions are made. I'm therefore extremely disappointed that the government have decided to turn their back on the process of democratic reform. "