Peak Park Budget Sees Small Increase, Climate Change Focus
Measures to tackle the impact of climate change and work to help residents make planning applications are at the centre of a budget set by the Peak District National Park Authority.
The authority’s budget for 2009/10 also includes a £105,000 investment into IT systems to improve customer service, increase the security of data, save energy and enable more transactions - such as planning applications - to be done online.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has increased the grant they give the authority by 2.8 per cent, increasing the overall budget to £8.292 million.
Most of the budget will be spent on maintaining the quality of existing services. This includes:
- Conservation of the national park
- Protecting heritage and historical sites
- Initiatives to support the rural economy, particularly for businesses that benefit the environment
- Maintaining rights of way and running guided ranger walks
- Moors for the Future, which is overseeing restoration of moorlands - see www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk
In addition the authority has been given £200,000 to distribute to local community projects that benefit the environment through its Sustainable Development Fund.
Narendra Bajaria, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: "I believe we have set a careful budget that takes into account the difficult economic climate while still delivering real improvements to the service we offer the public.
"Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, made clear that he was increasing our budget because the authority is carrying out work of local, regional and national importance on key issues such as climate change, conservation and supporting the rural economy.
"We have also worked hard as an authority to identify efficiency savings to enable us to put even more money into conserving and enhancing the national park for the benefit of residents, visitors and businesses."
The extra investment in climate change issues will see £15,000 spent on delivering the Peak District Climate Change Action Plan. A copy of the plan can be seen by visiting www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/climatechange.
It includes measures to:
- Restore Peak District moorlands so that they help:
- reduce the risk of flooding in surrounding towns and cities like Manchester, Sheffield and Derby.
- store carbon dioxide in the land. At the moment carbon dioxide is leaking from the land into the atmosphere due to years of pollution, fires and over grazing.
- Develop land management techniques to reduce the impact of climate change on vulnerable plants and wildlife.
- Review planning guidance on renewable energy schemes allowed in the Peak District National Park.
- Give advice to businesses, residents and tourists about measures to reduce their carbon footprint
- Promote public transport.
A further £27,000 will be spent on measures to improve customer service in the planning service by offering residents more advice, support and clearer information when making a planning application.