Consultation begins on future of national park

PEOPLE with an interest in the North York Moors National Park are being asked for their view on how the organisation that looks after the area should spend its money.

The North York Moors National Park Authority is reviewing its services in light of the 21.5% cut to its grant over the next four years and is determined that decisions reflect the opinions of those who live in or visit the North York Moors.

It has launched an online consultation which will run now until Friday 18 March this yesr and can be found at www.northyorkmoors.org.uk People are asked to say which services are most important.

Andy Wilson, the North York Moors National Park Authority’s chief executive, said: “We have already cut staff numbers by 11% and our salaries are significantly below national and regional averages.

“Twenty five percent of our days are worked by volunteers.

“Our administrative costs are low to enable more money to be spent on delivering services.

“We will continue to look at ways to reduce our expenditure including sharing and outsourcing more services to maximise value for money.

“This approach means we will not have to cut grants to communities and individuals in 2011/12.

“However, the challenge we face after then as our grant is cut further is significant and we need to decide what we continue to do. Difficult decisions will need to be made and we want people’s input on priorities.”

Responses to the questionnaire along with feedback from other consultations with National Park Authority staff and partners will be used to draw up budget and service proposals for the North York Moors National Park Authority for 2012 to 2015.

These proposals, along with a revised business plan, will be presented to the Authority’s members at a meeting in September 2011.

Anyone who requires assistance or does not have access to the internet but would like to respond to the consultation should call (01439) 770657 to submit telephone responses or request a paper copy of the questionnaire.