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Posted By Discussion Topic: Complaint from John Packman

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Paladine
Feb-15-2018 @ 7:55 PM                           Permalink
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I have received an email from John Packman, accusing me of misrepresenting his views and the intentions of the Broads Authority. I totally refute those accusations and will post the full email exchange here.

"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

Paladine
Feb-15-2018 @ 7:57 PM                           Permalink
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Good Morning,

I have been contacted by the Editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, and your email exchange with him has been forwarded to the Authority for information. My attention has also been drawn to your postings on various social media sites. In both instances you appear to be misrepresenting my views and actions in regard to the legal status of the Broads.

It is disappointing that our shortlisting in the BBC Countryfile Magazine awards is met by such a negative reaction from you and a few other people who claim to have the interests of the Broads at heart. Our inclusion in this competition should bring only positives for the Broads, promoting greater awareness of our beautiful area and encouraging a wider visitor base to the benefit of the local economy and rural services. To undermine our inclusion seems inward looking and narrow focussed. Since the announcement of our shortlisting we have had many comments of support, not least from National Park Authorities, including those whose Parks are shortlisted.

I accept that we are unlikely to reach agreement on all aspects of this matter. However, I object to public postings that misrepresent my views and the intentions of the Broads Authority.

One example is your posting of 4 February in which you stated: “So why did JP try to get the Broads designated as a National Park back in 2006, with the BA-sponsored private Broads National Park Bill (which failed).”

This statement is incorrect in several ways.

The prime motive behind the Broads Authority promoting a Private Bill in 2006 was to improve safety for the public.

In Summer-Autumn 2006, the Authority explored whether it would be possible formally to change the name of the area to the Broads National Park without any other changes to the status of the area. The Authority did not, as you say, “try to get the Broads designated as a National Park”.

In September 2006, the Authority dropped the proposal to make any formal changes to the name of the area or the Authority, and the Bill deposited in Parliament in November 2006 was titled the Broads Authority Bill. The Bill did not fail - it brought in some important changes to the Norfolk and Suffolk Act 1988.

I have never advocated the application of the Sandford Principle to the Broads - quite the reverse.

My ambition has always been for the Broads Authority and its partners to be able to use the term ‘Broads National Park’ so that the area can fully benefit from the status it was given by the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988. We are implementing the decision taken by the Broads Authority in January 2015 to use the term Broads National Park. This decision, which has the support of the National Park Authorities and the constituent local authorities, was tested in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal through a judicial review. This determined that the Authority had the power to take this decision and that it was not misleading the public in using the term Broads National Park.

I have noted comments stating that, by using the term Broads National Park, we may somehow invoke a change in designation by stealth and that the Sandford Principle could be applied. I can categorically restate that this is not the Authority’s or my intention and I would not support it.

The Broads is a unique landscape, with appropriate legislation that reflects the need to balance a more complex range of interests than is the case with other National Parks and maintain the navigation area for the benefit of our toll payers. It is lawful to promote the Broads National Park.

I can see that you are passionate about this issue. While I doubt I will persuade you that the Authority is doing everything properly and for the benefit of the Broads, I request that you stop misrepresenting my views or attributing inaccurate comments to me.

If you wish to post this email in its entirety to help others understand the true position, I have no objection to your doing so.

With regards

John


"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

Paladine
Feb-15-2018 @ 7:58 PM                           Permalink
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Hello John,

Thank you for your email. Fergus Collins told me that he had forwarded the correspondence to you. I had hoped you would respond to the points I had put to him. I am disappointed that, like him, you have chosen to ignore them.

I don’t wish this to become like a ping-pong ball, going backwards and forwards, so perhaps we can cover all the issues, before I make further public posts. I try to keep my public posts as accurate and factual as I can, so if you could take the time to send me the social media posts, and comments to Fergus Collins, that you believe misrepresent you and the intentions of the Broads Authority, I would be only too happy to review them and make corrections if I think it appropriate.

You regard my comment about your actions in 2006 to be inaccurate. My full reference to that period was:

“So why did JP try to get the Broads designated as a National Park back in 2006, with the BA-sponsored private Broads National Park Bill (which failed). At that time he was quoted (by the BBC) as saying, "Changing the name of the Broads will not change its status. It is already a national park..."”

May I draw your attention to the letter sent to you at that time by the Head of the Defra National Parks Branch, John Kilner. He was responding to the draft Bill and notes that had been sent to him by the Broads Authority chairman.

Mr Kilner wrote:

“Allowing the use of the title “National Park” and “National Park Authority”  
I’m afraid that we still cannot support this”

An effort to change the names to National Park and National Park Authority is an effort to have the Broads designated a national park. I believe that to be a fair assessment, particularly as you thought at the time that the Broads was a national park. [Designate (definition) - “officially give a specified status or name to.”]

Wasn’t the original title of the Bill “The Broads National Park Bill”? It was not presented to Parliament as that, and I consider that to be a failure. You were told you could not use the name Broads National Park. It was The Broads Authority Bill that was passed.

Have I actually said that you advocated the application of the Sandford Principle to the Broads? I don’t recall having done so. I am fully aware that you have stated, in the past, that you consider the EU Habitat Directives afford such sufficient protection to the Broads that the application of Sandford is unnecessary.

Nor do I recall suggesting that Sandford could be introduced by stealth.

I don’t regard my reaction to the Broads inclusion in the competition as negative. I put great store in truth and accuracy. I consider those to be more important to uphold and support than any promotional misrepresentation. As I have already publicly stated, if the competition had been for ‘members of the national park family’, no-one would have noticed or objected. It is an opportunity missed. A competition with that reference would have united all those in favour of, and against, the national park rebranding under one banner - The Broads, Member of the National Parks Family.

Regards,


"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

Paladine
Feb-15-2018 @ 7:59 PM                           Permalink
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Good Afternoon

After a long history of debate on the National Park issue we clearly have different views on this specific point.

My understanding of your position is that you accept that the Broads is a member of the national park family, but take the view, that the term ‘National Park’ can only be applied to areas designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.

My view is that the Broads was given the status of a national park by the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988 and that it is perfectly reasonable and lawful for the Broads Authority to use the term Broads National Park when promoting the area.

That position is supported by the Broads Authority, the National Park Authorities and the Courts.

On the other hand I think we are both agreed that we don’t support the application of the Sandford Principle to the Broads.

That may be as far as we can go on this.

With kind regards

John


"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

Paladine
Feb-15-2018 @ 8:00 PM                           Permalink
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Hello John,

As you have avoided making any reference to the points I made in my last email to you, I must assume you do not disagree with them. As you haven’t provided me with any of my earlier posts to review, I also assume there are none that misrepresent your views or the intentions of  the Broads Authority.

I don’t actually accept that the Broads is a member of the national parks family, but I accept that you were given permission to use the expression for marketing, by the then Minister of State. I believe that the Broads is much better than a national park and to market it as such is degrading it.

But that is a personal view, not the view of someone who wishes to make money out of the Broads. I would have much preferred the Broads to be marketed for all its wonderful qualities, without trying to make it into, or describe it as, something it’s not.

A small point, but an important one. You talk about “promoting the area”. That isn’t actually what the Authority’s resolution said, is it. The resolution said “…that the brand “Broads National Park” be adopted for marketing related purposes…”.

Promoting and marketing  have two entirely different meanings. It is within the remit of the Authority to ‘promote’ the Broads (2nd function 1988 Act: “promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Broads by the public”), but it is NOT a function of the Authority to market the Broads. That is done by tourist companies, hire yards, accommodation providers etc.

I think you’ll find that this is at the root of the discontent with the way the Authority is using the expression.

We will have to continue to agree to disagree.

One last question, a genuine one. I have searched the 1988 Act for the word ‘status’ but have failed to find it. Can you point me towards the section that gives the Broads the status of a national park?

Regards,


"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

bayleaf
Feb-24-2018 @ 1:06 AM                           Permalink
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I am amazed that such a simple question is taking so long to be answered.

ncsl
Feb-24-2018 @ 10:15 AM                           Permalink
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JP " In both instances you appear to be misrepresenting my views and actions in regard to the legal status of the Broads.
"

Now is the pot calling the pan black ?

The ONLY person that is " misrepresenting my views and actions in regard to the legal status of the Broads. "

Seems to JP him self.
We all - except JP - know the Broads are NOT a National Park - yet JP keeps telling EVERYONE un-truths !
As for advertising purposes, how can a planing application form include the words Broads Nation Park ?? To mention just one instance.

That is blatantly untrue.





I cruise on THE NORFOLK BROAD as I can not cruise on something that is NOT.

Official Photographer.
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This message was edited by ncsl on Feb-24-18 @ 9:16 AM

JollyRodger
Feb-24-2018 @ 10:45 AM                           Permalink
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I think it quite reasonable for us to expect openness and truthfulness. In reality half truths are what we have come to expect. Failing to mention that the Broads isn't actually a national park isn't a lie, but it's hardly being open with the truth.

Jolly Rodger

Paladine
Feb-24-2018 @ 10:50 AM                           Permalink
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bayleaf said, "I am amazed that such a simple question is taking so long to be answered."

The very genuine question I asked JP was: "Can you point me towards the section that gives the Broads the status of a national park?"

I asked because JP had written to me that, "My view is that the Broads was given the status of a national park by the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988..." and I could find nothing in the Act to substantiate that. I would have expected that, even though he had ignored all the other points I had put to him, he would at least be able to answer that question.

Having just about exhausted my research, the earliest reference I can find is during the debate on the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Bill, when, on 1 December 1986, the Minister for Environment, Countryside and Planning (William Waldegrave) said:

“The Bill recognises the Broads' national importance and special needs. It gives them a status equivalent to that of a national park, but with wider powers. It reflects and respects the interests of boat users and commercial shippers, and that is why I see no difficulty in accepting the Instruction proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone.

I would think that that was a careful choice of words. Not, as JP would have me (us) believe, "the status of a national park", but "a status equivalent to that of a national park".

Some will argue there is no difference. In that case, why didn't the Minister just say 'status of a national park'? Maybe because only areas designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 can claim to have the status of a national park.

But then JP believes that the Broads is a national park (interview with BBC News 2006)

"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

Paladine
Feb-24-2018 @ 10:59 AM                           Permalink
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JollyRodger wrote, "Failing to mention that the Broads isn't actually a national park isn't a lie, but it's hardly being open with the truth."

And what is it when reports to the Planning Committee by a planning officer refer to the "Broads National Park", and BA documents related to the current Broads Local Plan discussions (going before the next Planning Committee) also use the Broads National Park expression?  

"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)


This message was edited by Paladine on Feb-24-18 @ 9:59 AM

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