South East MEP Pays Tribute to Campaigners Over Downs National Park Victory

1 April 2009

As the South Downs Wins National Park Status, the region's MEP Pays Tribute to ‘Dedicated' Campaigners.

The Green Party Leader and South East MEP has welcomed as ‘long overdue' the government's go ahead to make the South Downs a National Park.

Caroline Lucas paid tribute to the ‘dedication' of Campaigners, but said it was ‘baffling' they'd had to battle for 60 years to get the status to protect, for future generations, the 627 square miles of chalk uplands, river valleys and wooded greens.

The park will come into effect in 2011, but Dr. Lucas said she can't understand why it has taken so long.

"Defra must now step up efforts to complete the consultation process and confirm the national park designation order as soon as possible, so that the local economy can start to feel the benefits. It would be a shame to have to wait a further two years or more for the park to be formally created, now that the decision has been made."

She welcomed the protection the status will confer on this beautiful part of England including "the EU's Habitats Directive - to ensure that the valuable natural heritage of this area is not negatively affected by future developments or planning applications.

She also welcomed the inclusion of the Western Weald, Lewes and Ditchling in the park.

"It's clear that today's decision represents a massive achievement for the dedicated South Downs Campaign, which has fought long and hard to make this a reality for residents and visitors to the area. "


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