Peak Park staff face axe amid Government cuts

Tony Favell MBE, chairman of the Peak District National Park
Tony Favell MBE, chairman of the Peak District National Park

Staff at the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) is to be cut back – in response to a reduction in Government grants.

A £577,000 package of permanent savings has been approved by members of the authority as part of a 30 per cent cut in its budget over four years.

It includes staff reductions, efficiency savings, cutting back on grants and projects and charging more for some services.

PDNPA chair Cllr 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.

“Our approach to dealing with the cuts is to make efficiency savings in some areas while 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.”

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

Cllr 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.”

A PDNPA spokesman said: “We’re not alone in facing these challenges as all ten English national park authorities are managing 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.

• What do you think? Email