The Society has today, 2 March, issued the following press release:
National park “Friends” group, the South Downs Society, has hosted a visit from shadow minister Barry Gardiner MP at Seven Sisters Country Park. The MP was responding to receipt of “National Parks in the 21st Century: a manifesto for the next Westminster Government”, produced by the Campaign for National Parks (CNP).
Each national park has its own supportive society, raising funds and campaigning to conserve the special park landscape. CNP is the national umbrella organisation for the national park societies.
Says South Downs Society chairman, Robert Cheesman, “The manifesto aims to highlight to politicians the vital role the national parks play in the local economy as well as in people’s recreation and enjoyment, and their need for strong planning protection and secure funding. We will be sending it out to prospective parliamentary candidates locally and CNP has circulated it to national politicians of all parties in advance of the general election. Barry Gardiner wanted to hear more and to share his thoughts on possible future legislation and funding for the national parks and our Society was very happy to host his meeting with CNP and local environmental groups in the South Downs.”
Poor weather and the MP’s tight timetable rather put a dampener on plans to explore the country park and its iconic river meanders but those attending found the meeting very helpful.
Says Robert Cheesman, “These irreplaceable national assets need friends in high places as well as local support. Whichever party or parties may be in power after the election, it is essential that the national parks are safeguarded and that all sectors of the community are able to appreciate and enjoy them. I believe Mr. Gardiner was taking careful note of what we all had to say.”