Cumbria

Lake District and Yorkshire Dales parks plan opposed

Cumbria County Council has opposed fresh plans to extend the boundaries of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks.

Natural England wants to extend the eastern and southern sides of the Lake District and western and northern boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales.

But the council claims this could hit affordable housing provision and plans for a high speed rail link.

The authority rejected similar proposals by Natural England in 2010.

Natural England wants formal protection for some areas between the two parks.

'Negative impact'

But the county council said the proposals would have a "negative impact" on rural communities.

A spokesman said the plans would limit the provision of affordable homes for people on low incomes.

The proposals could also have a negative impact on plans to improve the National Grid infrastructure and the high speed rail link in the M6 corridor through the Lune Gorge, the council said.

The authority's cabinet member for the environment, Tim Knowles, said: "We have a very productive and positive working relationship with the national parks. Therefore we have not just dismissed these proposals out of hand, instead we have given them close and careful consideration.

"However, the council strongly feels that it cannot support the proposed extension of the boundaries, given the negative impact that this would have on communities.

"These are already beautiful and unspoilt areas under the current system, we don't need to throw another ring of bureaucracy around local people for no reason."

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