A family of unique trails: Discussion Paper on the Future Management of National Trails from April 2013

Natural England has written to over 160 organisations and local authorities to ask their views about proposals to alter the ways National Trails in England are looked after in the future. The consultation is aimed at those organisations involved in the current management of National Trails, as well as trail user groups, and will run for 8 weeks from 10th May until 5th July 2012.

Currently National Trails are cared for and managed by 50 local highway authorities and the cost of this work, including the employment of National Trail officers, is mainly funded by Defra via Natural England. The consultation proposes to:

  • involve local people and communities in looking after National Trails
  • give Local authorities more autonomy over how they manage the National Trail funding they receive. Under the proposals, Local Authorities could receive a single grant rather than a grant for specific items, which will enable a flexible response to each Trail’s needs
  • fevelop a flexible management programme for National Trails that recognises the different investment and maintenance needs of National Trails

Liz Newton, Natural England’s Director for Access said: “Our National Trails are world-class tourist attractions offering locals and visitors the opportunity to explore England’s rich landscapes and diverse wildlife. They are the gold standard for public access but we have to look at how each distinct Trail is cared for to ensure they are all on a sustainable course for the future. The consultation will provide a valuable opportunity for all parties to share views on the way forward”

 To view the discussion paper and for information on how to respond see the Natural England website.

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