Published: Thursday, 8th December 2016
A report published this week by three key conservation bodies highlights the threat to National Parks from major developments and fracking...
Short-term economic priorities are overriding long-established safeguards and allowing inappropriate development in England’s National Parks, according to a report published this week by three key conservation bodies.
The report was undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University and based on research commissioned by the Campaign for National Parks, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the National Trust.
The research looked at the national policy to restrict ‘major development’ in National Parks, which has protected these areas since they were created in the 1940s.
Current threats to National Parks highlighted by the report included the approval last year of the world’s largest potash mine (by volume) in the North York Moors National Park. The report also noted that the Lake District National Park was bidding for UNESCO World Heritage Site status as proposals for power lines to serve a new nuclear power station have surfaced.
Other potentially threatening developments involved an application for oil extraction next to an ancient woodland in the South Downs National Park; proposals to significantly widen roads that cut through the South Downs and Peak District National Parks and increased quarrying activities in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, as well as a large holiday complex on the south west edge of the Park.
The report also revealed that the threat of fracking is looming over the South Downs, Exmoor, North York Moors and Peak District National Parks.
The research found that interpretations of ‘major development’ varied between the National Parks, and decisions to approve planning applications often reflected the government mood at the time, with policy changes that leant toward economic growth rather than environmental protection.