The Peak District National Park authority consists of a number of individuals who make decisions regarding looking after the park, and are the main point of contact between individuals and the park. Members act like MP’s for the park and specialise in a number of different areas from protecting the natural environment to financial affairs. The park authority has a total of 30 members at any one time. Out of these members, 16 are selected by councils which may be at district, city or county level. A further 14 are selected by the secretary of state, as well as a further 8 who are appointed due to possessing expert knowledge of a number of key issues which affect the park. The final 8 members are parish councilors.
The most important job of members is to ensure that the National Park authority meets its obligations. Members do this by setting a strategy for the running of the park which aims to ensure the interests of all are best met. Residents can contact members easily with certain members serving certain areas of the national park. The park strategy itself must be efficient in regards to the handling of funds as well as promoting sustainable development within the park. Ultimately sustainable development is achieved by members considering both the long term and short term impact of decisions on a number of key areas. These include the environment of the park, the economy as well as social considerations in regards to the lifestyles of those who live within the park.
Integrity is one of the most important characteristics for those who wish to become members, with an emphasis placed on acting independently when making decisions. This means that members must always be making decisions in the interest of the national park and scrutinising decisions which impede or go against the purposes of the park. Some of the areas in which this is important include the interactions between businesses and the park authority. Members must look at the activities of businesses within the park ensuring that they will have a long-lasting positive impact on the area. Considerations are comprehensive in nature and are likely to revolve around the sustainability of business activities. This simply means that members will try to ensure that the running of a business or enterprise in the present will not impact people’s future use of the park in a negative way.
In order to achieve a comprehensive list of responsibilities members must ensure that they do certain things. The first of these revolves around the interaction between members and residents of the park and is the regular attending of meetings by members. This ensures that members can realise the views of local committees and individuals who have issues surrounding the running of the park. Members must also have a comprehensive knowledge of current issues that affect the park so that they can debate and discuss potential solutions to problems at meetings. The objective of the national park authority is to protect the park and its natural environment. Members must help promote this cause to the best of their ability.
The government sets out to measure the performance of members of the authority as well as national park authorities as a whole. The first way in which the authority does this is through monitoring the attendance of members at meetings, ensuring that they attend 75% of meetings. This is to ensure that they are committed to the park authority as well as actively contributing to it. Members appointed by the secretary of state can serve a term of four years extended to a maximum of 12, whereas those serving with councils, can serve as long as they are re-elected.