Northumberland National Park comes to Castle Douglas

On 12 June around 40 local people joined a group of GNPA trustees to gain a fascinating insight into the work of the Northumberland National Park from its former Chair, hill farmer John Riddle, and its Chief Executive, Tony Gates. The two explained how the Park Authority worked closely with local people and a wide range of other bodies to develop and deliver a shared vision for the area’s future. They showed how the Park’s £2.4 million a year Government funding brought in an extra £2.1 million directly to its budget and many times that to the local economy. Responding to questions they stressed the valuable role that a National Park like theirs, with a majority of local members, could play in facilitating and co-ordinating activity within its boundaries and in helping residents to make sense of and live successfully with the many environmental and other designations already in place. They pointed out that the success rate for planning applications was actually higher in National Parks than elsewhere and gave examples of how Park staff worked with farmers and others to boost the area’s economy, through tourist and other enterprises. 

Alan Cameron