Peak Park feels the chill

Opening of the tunnels on the Monsal Trail, cyclists celebrate the opening of the route
Opening of the tunnels on the Monsal Trail, cyclists celebrate the opening of the route

Management of the Peak District National Park is to be further cut back in response to reductions in Government grants.

A £577,000 package of permanent savings has been approved by members of the park authority as part of a 30% cut in budget over four years. It includes staff reductions, efficiency savings, cutting back on grants and projects and charging more for some services.

Authority chair Coun Tony Favell said: “Our purpose is to safeguard the national park despite shrinking budgets and losing staff. We have already made some tough decisions and unfortunately we expect there will be more to come.”

The approach was “to make efficiency savings in some areas whilst increasing income where we can. We are not standing still we are being proactive.

“We are investigating the best ways of reducing costs and generating more income from our assets including the North Lees Estate, near Hathersage and from the Monsal, High Peak and Tissington Trails.”

The authority will also continue to work with partner organisations and look for sources of external funding to help look after the national park and promote its enjoyment.

Coun Favell added: “Through careful financial planning alongside having to make permanent reductions we have reprioritised some temporary resources to giving support to rural businesses and communities, improving our environmental management performance, managing vehicle access on our green lanes, and to enhance our work in reversing the decline in wading birds.”

All ten English national park authorities are facing the same budget reductions. Details of grants from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are expected before Christmas. The final budget for 2014-15 will be set in February.