Clwydian Range and Dee Valley could become Wales’ fourth National Park
The Welsh Government has commissioned Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to conduct a ‘comprehensive evaluation’ for the potential establishment of a new National Park within North East Wales.
The proposed park would incorporate the existing Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), marking the first such initiative in Wales in almost 70 years.
There are currently three National Parks in Wales covering an area of 4122 sq km.
This represents approximately 20% of the land area of Wales. Eryri (Snowdonia) was designated in 1951 followed by Pembrokeshire Coast in 1952 and Brecon Beacons in 1957.
National Parks were created to protect the most beautiful and imposing landscapes in the UK.
The statutory designation recognises the national importance of such landscapes and gives them a high degree of protection.
The special qualities of each park are different in terms of their landscape character, historical and cultural heritage.
National Parks are managed by a National Park Authority comprising of Members appointed by constituent local authorities (two-thirds) and Members appointed by the Welsh Government (one-third).
This move to designate Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area follows the Welsh government’s 2021-2026 Programme for Government, wherein the creation of a fourth National Park was hinted.
The project, currently in its ‘data and evidence gathering stage’, focuses on Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR) principles, while considering updated legislation and technological advancements.
The ambitious timeline is set to conclude by 2026, the end of the current Senedd term.
However, the project is not taking any shortcuts in the evaluation process, promising “robust evidence” in support of its decisions.
Project Manager Ash Pearce stressed the importance of the designated authority’s role in the process.
“NRW must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to designate a new National Park,” he said, adding that stakeholder engagement and public consultation are integral parts of the process.
The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, along with other designated landscapes, already encompass approximately 25% of Wales.
These areas are recognised for their inherent natural beauty and the opportunities they provide for outdoor recreation.
Upon completion of the investigation and community engagement process, a Designation Order will be submitted to the Welsh Government.
If confirmed, the order will pave the way for the establishment of the country’s fourth National Park, following the last such designation in 1957.
Later in 2023, a series of engagement events will be held to collect input from local communities and other key stakeholders.
Additionally, a public consultation period will take place in 2024.
“Details of these events will be made available in due course.” NRW has said. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com