Downs needs ‘farmers on its side’

FARM LEADERS are warning that unless any future South Downs National Park Authority gets producers on it side, there will be limits to what it can achieve.

The NFU has reiterated calls for farmers and land managers to be well presented on any future park authority.

The call comes ahead of the opening of a new phase of the public inquiry into the park proposal on Tues (Oct 17).

Shaun Leavey, NFU south east regional director, said public expectations about what an “off the shelf” park authority might achieve in terms of landscape enhancement were high.

But he added that these expectations were not based on any real understanding of the actual powers given to a national park authority.

“Land management across almost all of the downs will remain a function of farmers and land managers, and the authority will need farmers on its side,” he said.

“The NFU believes a future park authority must include a large representation from the farming fraternity if it wishes to forge strong relationships.”

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