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Farron calls on the government to take advantage of spending review to democratise local national parks

September 6, 2010 12:00 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has today called on the government to democratise the National Parks and put local people in control, while also saving the public money.

Tim represents large parts of two of Britain's most important national parks, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. Tim is calling on the national park authorities to go on the front foot on spending reductions by sharing more services such as IT, personnel and finance with each other and other local authorities.

Tim also wants the national parks to use the restructuring to introduce long overdue democracy. At present no-one on the national park boards is directly elected. Tim feels it is high time that this is changed.

Commenting Tim said:

"Our National Parks should be democratically accountable - they should not be able to get away with opting not to be open to election. 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. We can save money and make them accountable to local people in one simple stroke.

"It's unfortunate that the good work of these organisations is often damaged by the fact that they are not accountable to local people. National parks have many of the powers of local councils, but without any formal accountability to the people who live there.

"If the national park boards were to contain people who were directly elected by the local community it would make it much more likely that the members of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales authorities would be sympathetic when making those decisions."