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Conservation ‘will not trump navigation’ on the Broads

Plans to call the Broads a National Park will not give conservation priority over boating, the new waterways minister, Rory Stewart, has promised MPs.

Speaking in Parliament on 8th July, the Defra minister said he was “more than comfortable” with the title National Park, which he said was a common-sense term.

The Broads Authority has already said it will not be adopting the Sandford Principle of National Parks, which gives conservation priority over recreation. Instead its three purposes, including navigation and leisure, will continue to carry equal weight. However, there was always the risk that the government could overrule this, so the minister’s latest promise is reassuring for the Authority.

Rory Stewart also said the Government will not now introduce direct elections for the Authority, backtracking on a proposal in the previous parliament.

“It would not achieve the intention, which is to get more people involved in boats and navigation on to the board. We are achieving that at the moment," he told MPs.

“More than one third of people on the board are active users of boats and licence holders, and that is important. In so far as I am involved in Secretary of State appointments, I will endeavour to ensure that they include people who have an active interest in navigation as well as the environment.”

Thursday 9 July  | Andrew Denny  | 12.11pm, Thursday 9 July 2015

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