Staff at Peak District authority facing axe

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Staff are to be axed at the Peak District National Park Authority following a reduction in government grants.

Last week, members of the authority agreed to a further £577,000 of permanent savings as part of a 30 per cent cut to its budget over four years.

This will include reducing staff numbers, in particular middle-senior managers and HQ admin staff, as well as charging more for services and efficiency savings.

Councillor Tony Favell, chair of the authority, said: “Our approach to dealing with the cuts is to make efficiency savings in some areas whilst increasing income where we can. We are not standing still we are being proactive.

“We are investigating the best ways of reducing costs and generating more income from our assets including the North Lees Estate, near Hathersage and from the Monsal, High Peak and Tissington Trails.

“Our purpose is to safeguard the national park despite shrinking budgets and losing staff. We have already made some tough decisions and unfortunately we expect there will be more to come.

“However through careful financial planning alongside having to make permanent reductions we have reprioritised some temporary resources to giving support to rural businesses and communities, improving our environmental management performance, managing vehicle access on our green lanes, and to enhance our work in reversing the decline in wading birds.”

Defra is expected to make an announcement on the National Park Grant settlement before Christmas. The authority’s final budget for 2014-15 will be set in February.