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Yesterday’s announcement of the spending review 2015’s effect on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs contained mixed news.
The good news is that the funding for national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and public forests is protected. National parks ‘will be given legal flexibilities to allow them to build sustainable, long-term revenue streams and boost growth in rural areas’. We congratulate the Campaign for National Parks, of which we are a member, for its brilliant campaign to secure this result.
The bad news is that there are to be resource savings of 15 per cent in real terms by 2019-21. We do not know what this means for public paths and access, common land, and the many other responsibilities which fall within Defra’s remit and which are of deep concern to us.
We shall be lobbying Defra to maintain its resource in common land which is under some risk when staff leave the organisation in the new year.