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Title: The policy and practice of protected area management : partnership working in Northumberland National Park
Authors: Austin, Richard
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This is a thesis on partnership working in Northumberland National Park, England. This protected area is one of ten national parks in the country, each with its own public sector management body, the national park authority. The national park authorities have two statutory purposes: to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage; and to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities by the public. In pursuing these purposes the authorities have a duty to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the national park. Every national park authority has a statutory five-year management plan that details the strategies upon which the two purposes and duty will be delivered, and all require the resources and co- operation of various partners. Although, rural partnership working is a well-researched area, less attention has been paid to the particular challenges of partnership working in protected areas, such as national parks, which have become important models for sustainable development. This qualitative research was conducted through documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with a sample of 23 stakeholders involved in the management of Northumberland National Park. The researcher drew upon over ten years of experience as a local government employee, including seven years at Northumberland National Park Authority. The case study examined Northumberland National Park, which was found to have a convoluted history that has shaped, and is continuing to shape, the present day approach to its management. The processes behind rural partnership working were understood as a range of interlinking controllable and uncontrollable factors and it was found that even though partnership working was between organisations, there was an unwritten acceptance among actors that success was dependent upon a range personal factors. These findings are important for all IUCN Category V protected areas, which are collectively termed as living, working landscapes, reliant upon working in partnership to achieve their objectives. It was therefore recommended that the respective management bodies could benefit from fully understanding the discrete processes that underpin this form of governance. With regards to the case study area, it was found that after a decade of the Action Areas approach, Northumberland National Park Authority has an emerging level of support from local communities for the delivery of its management plans. It is argued in the thesis that it is an opportune time to reassess what Northumberland National Park and Northumberland National Park Authority would like to achieve from the Action Areas approach.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

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