South Downs National Park: 10th Anniversary

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:03 pm on 12th January 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Griffith Andrew Griffith Conservative, Arundel and South Downs 7:03 pm, 12th January 2021

It is a pleasure to rise on behalf of us all in Parliament to commemorate the 10 years since the South Downs National Park, our nation’s newest, was recognised with that status. In fact, like Her Majesty, the park technically has two birthdays as the park authority came into being on 1 April 2010 and became fully operational on 1 April 2011.

As its name suggests, my constituency of Arundel and South Downs picks up a large swathe of the South Downs National Park, picking up the park at Pyecombe and Keymer and following its line north-west all the way to Selham and Graffham. That is a distance of some 34 miles, which is just over a third of the park’s total 87-mile length, as it stretches across three counties, between Winchester and the south coast at the spectacular Seven Sisters, which I note were celebrated recently in one of the Royal Mail’s latest national park stamps.

Like every 10-year-old, the authority does not get every single thing right, but we celebrate tonight its very many positive impacts, including a remarkable spirit of innovation and community. For that, I would like to personally commend chief executive Trevor Beattie, director of planning Tim Slaney, and director of countryside policy and management Andrew Lee for promoting and delivering such leading-edge work. Together with the park authority members, they have formed an effective and stable team, and it is very much their achievements that we recognise tonight.