The Welsh Government has begun the process of deciding whether to create a new National Park in North East Wales, broadly based around the existing Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Those in support of the designation argue that the National Park would provide a much needed boost to Wales’ tourism industry. However, CLA members are concerned that the designation will make it even more challenging to get planning permission.
What is happening now
There is a long road ahead before the Welsh Government make a decision on whether to go ahead with the new designation. The first stage of the process is an engagement period run by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) which will last until Monday 27 November 2023. During this stage, members of the public are encouraged to attend stakeholder engagement events which are being run both in person and online.
As part of this engagement, there is a survey to give views on the impact of a National Park.
The survey can be completed here, and the engagement events are available to be booked here. We strongly encourage members to respond to the survey and attend events where possible to make their voices heard.
Once the engagement period has ended, there will be a formal consultation on the proposed boundary. After this, the next stage will be for NRW to make a recommendation to the Welsh Government on the boundary of the National Park.
Finally, ministers will decide whether to accept, alter, or reject the National Park. The Welsh Government have committed to making this decision by 2026.
What the CLA is doing
CLA Cymru is currently in the early stages of gathering evidence on the impact that the proposed National Park will have. This means that when the consultations open, we will have the evidence we need to support our response.
We will also be responding to the engagement period survey in the coming weeks. Once the consultation has opened, a template response for CLA members will be developed to help them to respond to the consultation.
The CLA has for some time been lobbying for National Parks in England and Wales to have an additional statutory purpose: to foster the social and economic wellbeing of their communities. This would mean that the National Park Authority would have a duty to consider the needs of communities as well as conserving and enhancing the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the National Park.
This would mean decisions would be made in a way that gives weight to the need to boost the rural economy in national parks, and consequently make National Parks seem less of a threat to farmers and landowners.
If you have any questions about what the National Park might mean for you, contact the CLA Cymru team here.