Tyne & Wear

Northumberland park authority's legal bid over cuts

Hadrian's Wall
Image caption The Northumberland authority is planning to cut jobs to save money

A national park is taking legal action against the government over what it claims are "unfair" cuts to its budget.

The Northumberland National Park Authority has sent a letter to the Secretary of State for the Environment calling for a judicial review.

The authority is facing a £1m a year, or a 33% budget cut, and is planning to cut manager posts from eight to four.

Government department Defra said it had treated its park authorities "fairly" and that it had to make savings.

The Northumberland authority, which currently has an annual budget of £3.4m, said the role of three rangers and two farming advisers were also earmarked to go to save money.

It claimed Defra had "salami sliced" the budgets of all 10 park authorities without taking into account their individual circumstances and ability to raise alternative funds, such as from the sale of assets.

'Same care'

Chairman of the Northumberland National Park Authority, John Riddle, said: "My board has been forced to take this action.

"This is in order to ask Defra to apply the same care to making budget cutting decisions to the English national park authorities as government currently offers to other local authorities like councils and police authorities.

"We accept the need for cuts to help re-balance government spending and income.

"All we want is for Defra to use a fair and transparent decision making process."

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