The article below appeared in an issue of CNP's magazine 'Viewpoint' earlier this year:
Government announcement on major roads projects brings little cheer to National Parks
The announcement in the Chancellor's pre-budget report of proposed road schemes - covering the Peak District, South Downs and Broads Authority National Parks - is completely contrary to the Government's own policy on road building in National Parks and fails to take account of the importance that the public attach to protecting parts of the countryside from development.
Ruth Bradshaw, Policy and Research Manager at the Campaign for National Parks, said the current policy on presumption against development set out in the UK Government Vision and Circular for English National Parks and the Broads 2010, stated that
"there is strong presumption against any significant road widening or the building o new roads through a Park, unless it can be shown there are compelling reasons for new or enhanced capacity and with any benefits outweighing the costs very significantly. Any investment in trunk roads should be directed to developing routes for long distance traffic which avoid the Parks."
She added that while some funding - £300m - had been earmarked to deliver environmental improvements to the existing network - it was far less than the £3bn demanded by campaigners over the next five years.
"The identification of specific funding to maintain and enhance landscape and work to halt the loss of biodiversity is welcome. But there is nothing to ensure that National Parks will be prioritised for the funding for noise reduction, despite the huge benefits this could bring," she added.