‘National Parks cannot be imposed upon communities’ – Hazzard

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Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Chris Hazzard MLA has said that Sinn Féin could not support any proposal for a National Park in the absence of full consultation and agreement from the local community.

Support for and against a Mournes National Park has been divided

Speaking to Newry Times about the ongoing debate, Hazzard said, “National parks cannot and should not be foisted upon any community without their consent. The local community’s current and future needs must be taken into account in taking forward any proposal.” “Any proposal being brought forward by Alex Attwood for a National Park must be fully consulted upon, and must include detailed provisions to protect the rights of the local residents, farming and rural dwellers. Alex Atwood should not impose a National Park on the people of this constituency.” Hazzard continued, “South Down has massive potential to exploit the tourist industry and create businesses and employment with our areas of Natural Outstanding Beauty, our great golf courses, our beaches and our forest parks. “This area needs to be marketed more aggressively and our business community and tourist industry deserve better from our NI Tourist Board, Minister of Tourism and the Development Minister. “South Down already has many attractions, which aren’t being maximized, and a National Park being imposed on an already heavily restricted rural community is not the quick fix solution required. The farming community in South Down has for generations protected and developed the land, created employment and local interaction when governments failed to act.” “The meeting held recently in South Down has shown the level of interest and concern amongst the local population. The rural community has enough restrictions on them at present without extra ones being imposed by designating the area a National Park,” he added. More on this story: The big debate: Mournes National Park divides opinion
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