We have recently completed a review of our operational arrangements for National Trails. The review considered how we can best distribute our financial contribution towards the upkeep National Trails and what we should expect from local partners in return. The findings are published on our website and we are in the process of implementing changes.
The work attracted a higher than expected level of challenge and stimulated wider suggestions about the longer term shape and national stewardship of National Trails. As stated in the new deal document, Defra plan to convene a Working Group to advise on what government and its partners can do to maximise the value of investment and ensure that the economic potential of National Trails and coastal access is fully realised.
The details and timing for this work have not yet been decided but are currently being worked up. Further announcements about the Working Group will not be made until the end of June. In the meantime we are assisting Defra to consider how best to take this work forward.
Over the last two years Natural England has been working closely with a wide range of partners and stakeholders to review the management arrangements for National Trails. The Review has now been completed. We are immensely grateful to all who have contributed so generously to help shape ‘the new deal’, which was endorsed by our Non-Executive Board on 6 March 2013.
The new deal will result in effective management arrangements, equitable and transparent funding for the family of National Trails, as well as strengthen the role of users and local stakeholders and provide an updated framework for how we monitor the quality standards for these national assets.
Not every National Trail will be ready to implement the new arrangements from April 2013 and we are currently working to put in place bespoke implementation plans with Trails to support their transition to the new arrangements.
The documents below provide further information:
The evidence provided by partners and stakeholders in response to the consultation on the discussion paper: ‘A family of unique trails – Natural England’s discussion paper on the future management of National Trails from April 2013’.
A summary of the revised management model:
Recommendations from independent stakeholder groups on standards and funding:
National Trails review update February 2013: (131kb).
Our response to the petition: (112kb) recently submitted by the Ramblers.
Natural England received 141 responses to the consultation from a number of organisations and individuals who are closely involved in the care and maintenance of National Trails. Details are available in the review update document: (39kb). The full results of the consultation and the final review proposals will be published prior to April 2013.
Natural England is currently sharing with our partners and stakeholders some of the detailed working behind the proposals from the Funding and the Standards Working Groups and how these have collectively helped to inform our thinking on the future management model.
Natural England and Defra are fully committed to completing the current Review, which will give National Trails a more secure and well-managed future and makes the most of these important national and local assets for the benefit of all trail users, local communities and business. This remains our priority over the coming months.
We would like to thank our partners and stakeholders for their continued support and input to help us build on the work undertaken to date.
National Trails review update