For the past couple of years, in response to an initiative from Natural England, a team from Dorset and East Devon has been developing proposals for the designation of a National Park, first put forward in a Government report of 1945. Natural England has given the proposal a positive first assessment.
Britain’s National Parks are world-famous for their outstanding scenery and environments. Much less well-known is their success in promoting thriving and resilient rural economies and communities.
An independent report on the “Economic Opportunities, Benefits and Wider Impacts of a Dorset and East Devon National Park” is now available.
The key messages we take from the report are as follows. A Dorset & East Devon National Park would:
Promote thriving local communities, including affordable housing, key services, employment and skills.
Bring additional and more certain resources to the area, including central government funding which might amount to £10m annually, plus other sources of income. The Government has assured National Parks of future funding and support.
Local government re-organisation provides an opportunity for Dorset councils to include a National Park as part of a Devolution proposal to government in 2017. A companion study examines how the National Park Authority would work efficiently with a Unitary Authority on service delivery and financial outcomes. We see these studies as significant contributions to Dorset councils’ and others’ consideration of this question.
We look forward to discussing with all interested partners the significant opportunities which a National Park would offer.