Television presenter Ben Fogle has thrown his weight behind a campaign to conclude the long-running saga of the South Downs National Park.
Ben, who took over the post of president of the Council for National Parks earlier this month, has added his voice to those calling for a decision on the boundaries of the park. A public inquiry into the issue ran from November 2003 until March 2005.
Now, a Government inspector says the extent of the new park should be confirmed. However, officials are still dithering over areas of the western Weald, which could lead to land being excluded from its boundaries. Lewes, Ditchling and Arundel should be put outside the national park too, said the inspector.
Ben, best know for his stint on Castaway and his subsequent appearances on BBC’s Countryfile, said: “We are delighted that the inspector has recommended that the South Downs should become England’s 10th National Park.
“However, his radical proposals to exclude a large chunk of the Low Weald in Hampshire and West Sussex would be a missed opportunity to protect this beautiful countryside for future generations.”
The 1947 committee headed by Sir Arthur Hobhouse which led to the setting up of Britain’s national parks recommended the establishment of 12. The South Downs is the only one yet to be recognised.
The Council for National Parks is a charity that promotes use of the areas and campaigns on their behalf.