Northumberland National Park has welcomed the announcement that National Park budgets are going to be protected over the next five years.
The surprise news came as part of the Chancellor’s Spending Review today, in which Defra announced protection of more than £350million funding for public forests, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty over the Spending Review period. National Parks will also be granted legal flexibilities to allow them to build sustainable, long-term revenue streams and boost growth in rural areas.
The news was warmly welcomed by staff and members of Northumberland National Park Authority. Tony Gates, chief executive of Northumberland National Park Authority, said: "Today’s announcement by the Chancellor that National Park budgets are going to be protected for the next five years is excellent news. I am really delighted with the vote of confidence this represents in National Park authorities. We are small bodies, but do an important job and deliver great value to society.
"This protection of our budget helps support the brave decision of Northumberland National Park to proceed with the £14.8m Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre. We really can now look forward to delivering innovative and ambitious projects such as this which help protect our environment and support the rural economy."
Glen Sanderson, chairman of Northumberland National Park Authority, said: "The news that the budgets of National Parks have been protected is proof that Government recognise and value the role that they play. For Northumberland, this is fantastic news and I am very grateful to our MPs and the Minister who have been extremely supportive. This settlement gives National Park staff and members confidence for the future and allow us the ability to provide those things that we know the public love and appreciate."