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Farron gets national park democratisation into Queen's Speech

June 4, 2014 11:46 AM

Tim in SedberghSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed the news that his long term campaign to democratise our National Parks has made a big step forward. Today the Government announced that in the next legislative session it will bring forward a draft bill, proposing legislation in this area.

The Bill, announced by the Queen today, will be named the "Governance of National Parks (England) and the Broads Draft Bill". The Bill would enable the composition of National Parks' authorities and the Broads Authority to be broadened in the future by an order of the Secretary of State. The main purpose of the Bill would be to provide for the holding of local elections to the authorities.

Tim believes the Bill will:

  • Improve local accountability in the National Parks and Broads. ยท
  • Broaden representation on National Parks' and the Broads Authorities, without necessarily increasing numbers.
  • Address a perceived local democratic deficit.

The draft Bill would also allow parish councils to select their representatives to a Park Authority more widely. Currently they must select a parish councillor or Meeting Chairperson. They would be enabled to include anyone eligible to stand as a parish councillor, if the Park Authority requests it, and the Secretary of State so provides.

In April,Tim introduced a Presentation Bill to the House of Commons in a bid to force the Government to look at the issue. His actions have led to the Government bringing forward these proposals today.

Tim said: "This is fantastic news and I'm delighted that our long running campaign has made a massive step forward. I want to thank the thousands of local residents who have backed the campaign. Without their help we would not be at this stage today.

"Today's announcement means that the Government will be publishing a bill and I hope that with support of local residents and MP's of all parties we can bring this bill into law. Our National Parks should be democratically accountable - the communities affected by national park decisions are entitled to have their say over how those decisions are made. They should not be able to get away with opting not to be open to election."