Thursday, September 21, 2006

Broads National Park plan shelved

Plans to have the Norfolk Broads declared a National Park have been shelved, it emerged today.

Broads Authority chief executive John Packman had been pushing for the change to give the area the same status as other national parks like the New Forest and the Peak District.

But the proposal drew fierce opposition from the powerful boating lobby, because the move would have meant conservation taking precedence over navigation, under a legal precedent called the Sandford principle.
Pike anglers also feared the move would lead to increased restrictions being placed on their sport.

Environment minister Barry Gardiner refused to back the plan at a meeting in London earlier this week.
The disclosure came after local media reported a leaked letter from a senior civil servant, warning the Broads could not qualify for national park status because navigation would have been given equal importance as conservation.

A private member's bill on the Broads, which seeks to tighten curbs on water skiiers and hire boat licensing, is set to go before MPs next year.