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Peak District National Park makes cuts

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: December 26, 2013

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FURTHER savings have been made to the Peak District National Park Authority's budget and other money re-prioritised to pay for key areas of work.

At the authority's December meeting, members agreed to a further £577,000 of permanent savings as part of a 30 per cent cut to its budget over four years.

Councillor Tony Favell, chairman of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: "Our approach to dealing with the cuts is to make efficiency savings in some areas while increasing income where we can.

"We are not standing still we are being proactive.

"We are investigating the best ways of reducing costs and generating more income from our assets including the North Lees Estate, near Hathersage, and from the Monsal, High Peak and Tissington Trails."

As part of the package of measures, changes to the planning application fee structure were also agreed by the authority.

Charges to businesses - but not for householders - for pre-application advice are to be introduced in April.

The authority will also continue to work with partner organisations and look for sources of external funding to help look after the national park and promote its enjoyment.

Councillor Favell said: "Our purpose is to safeguard the national park despite shrinking budgets and losing staff.

"We have already made some tough decisions and unfortunately we expect there will be more to come.

"However, through careful financial planning alongside having to make permanent reductions, we have reprioritised some temporary resources to giving support to rural businesses and communities, improving our environmental management performance, managing vehicle access on our green lanes, and to enhance our work in reversing the decline in wading birds."

The Peak District National Park Authority is not alone in facing these challenges as all 10 English national park authorities are managing the same budget reductions.

An announcement from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the National Park Grant settlement is expected before Christmas.

The Authority's final budget for 2014-15 will be set at a meeting in February.

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