Letters: South Downs need special care

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article on the future administration of the South Downs ("Salvation in prospect for Kipling's dream Downs", 19 September) states there is "widespread opposition" to declaring the area a national park.

Recent consultation has revealed that support for a national park or statutory body of similar status is also "widespread" - the National Trust, English Nature, Sports Council, Rural Development Commission, Ramblers Association, Open Spaces Society and Council for the Protection of Rural England, to name a few.

The South Downs is one of England's most beautiful landscapes. Yet it faces serious pressures - from the expansion of the Sussex coastal towns, road building and commercial and tourist developments.

In CPRE's view the Countryside Commission's proposals to continue with current administrative arrangements are not sufficiently secure. While the existing Conservation Board has without question provided good value for money in planning and management of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it needs both statutory authority and the resources to plan, manage and protect the whole of the Downs.

A special statutory body, equivalent in status to a National Park, tailored to the local area, is needed. The Countryside Commission should give greater consideration to this option if the South Downs is to continue to inspire poets of this and future generations.

FIONA REYNOLDS

Director

Council for the Protection of Rural England

London SW1

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