National Park authorities ‘condemning’ farmers to run tea shops

New Country Land and Business Association (CLA) president Victoria Vyvyan has demanded a change to National Park authority structures, claiming at present farmers in National Parks are “condemned” to running tea shops.

Ms Vyvyan, who grew up in Dartmoor National Park, also said she was concerned about an “arbitrary requirement” for a new National Park.

Her comments came just days after Defra announced England would get the new park as part of a plan to give greater access to the countryside and help protect it.

Speaking to Farmers Weekly at the CLA conference in London on 30 November, Ms Vyvyan said: “I live in an AONB [area of outstanding natural beauty], so it’s not because I’m against designation of land, but I wish I had a strong sense that they were going to look at the problems with current National Park authorities and tackle them, before they impose a National Park on a community that may well be resistant to it.

“From our perspective, as people who live and work in the National Parks, the problem is the make-up of the National Park authorities.

“There just isn’t enough land management representation. It’s cursory, it’s totemic, it’s not going to be anywhere near enough.”

Ms Vyvyan also urged existing National Park authorities to recognise farmers want to run dynamic, 21st-century businesses.

“We do not want to be condemned to more tea shops,” she said.

“You’re not going to get me in a pinnie.”

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