Broads chief says National Parks review could create opportunties for change
PUBLISHED: 10:45 29 November 2018
©Archant Photographic 2009
An overhaul of the way national parks are governed could create a range of opportunities for the Broads, its chief executive has said.
The Broads Authority is in the process of finalising its response to a review of the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty being carried out at central government level.
The inclusion of the Broads in the National Parks family has proved a contentious issue in the past, however, BA chief executive John Packham has said the review presents a range of opportunities.
Among these, the chance to better manage wildlife, offer more to schoolchildren and better promote the beauty of the Broads.
Mr Packman said he hoped the review would put more pressure on central government to provide opportunities for schoolchildren to visit the Broads.
He said: “There is such a willingness from schools to visit us, but also limited resources for them to be able to.
“Through our Water, Mills and Marshes project, we had the opportunity to work with some 600 children from schools in Lowestoft and had really positive feedback. Some of the children said the visits were the best days of their lives.”
Greater powers to manage wildlife
Mr Packman said: “Surveys have shown that wildlife is the aspects of the Broads that the public hold most dear, however, as it stands we have relatively few powers managing it.
“I feel we should be given the ability to carry out much more detailed monitoring to understand the conditions different species thrive in, and therefore protect them better.”
‘A fourth function’
Currently the Broads Authority has three primary functions - to conserve and enhance natural beauty, to promote enjoyment and the protect navigation of the waters.
The review could see a ‘fourth function’ added to its principles - to promote social and economic wellbeing.
Mr Packman said: “We want to have a greater responsibility for this. Part of the thinking is looking for ways of creating more jobs in the various industries involved with the Broad and make sure they all have bright futures ahead.”
Pressure on public bodies
“Currently public bodies and local authorities are told they have a duty to “have regards” for National Parks purposes - which is open to interpretation.
“One thing the National Park executives are asking is for this to be cleared up by changing the wording to “further” them.
“This would place more of an onus on government bodies to think about how they can really make the most of their National Parks.”