South Downs partnership plan launched

Nick Herbert with Margaret Paren, from the National Park Authority
Nick Herbert with Margaret Paren, from the National Park Authority

A PLAN to manage the South Downs National Park has been launched at an event attended by key figures from the community.

Among the issues the plan will seek to address are improving water quality and dealing with ongoing flooding in the area.

Margaret Paren, chair of the National Park Authority, said: “We really regard water quality as one of the most important issues in our management plan.

“1.2 million people rely on aquifers in the South Downs. It’s getting those aquifers into a better position which is what we’re all about.

“But the management plan isn’t just about water. It’s also about tourism and sustainable transport.”

The Partnership Management Plan sets out a vision for how individuals, organisations and networks across the South Downs would like the National Park to be in the future.

It includes 11 long-term outcomes, and provides a framework for communities, land-owners, charities, businesses and public bodies to work together.

MP Nick Herbert said there was a balance needed between environmental and economic objectives in the South Downs.

He said: “10 times as many people rely on water which comes from the Downs than live in the Downs themselves. “We have a complex and fragile ecosystem. There’s the classic example of the balance between, on the one hand, the environmental objective and the protection of certain habitats and species, and the agricultural and economic objective in protecting people’s homes on the other.”

Preparation of the plan has been led and co-ordinated by the National Park Authority working jointly with a stakeholder group – the South Downs Partnership.