Does it really matter, so long as routes are just outside or only just inside the National Park boundary?
Highways England proposals for major new route developments in Sussex are contrary to government policy unless they ‘avoid the Parks’ (English National Parks and the Broads – UK Government Vision and Circular 2010). What does it mean to ‘avoid the Parks’?
The same document clarifies that being just outside the boundary is not the same thing as avoiding the Parks: “Major development in or adjacent to the boundary of a Park can have a significant impact on the qualities for which they were designated” (para 31).
The Autumn 2015 SDNPA ‘Duty to Cooperate’ document thus correctly says that “any development in or near to the National Park has the potential to cause harm to the landscape both individually and cumulatively”(4.6); and “Development both within and outside the National Park has the potential to create further cumulative impact on the landscape and amenity of the National Park and is a key cross boundary strategic issue”(4.7).
Also in accordance with the 2010 policy is the Autumn 2015 SDNPA Draft Local Plan, which aims to “ensure that development outside of the National Park does not have a detrimental impact on its setting or otherwise prejudice the achievement of the National Park purposes”(ch.5). It seeks to counteract “the isolating effects of major roads and railways”(6.27); and notes that where “activities outside the boundary may have an impact within it, in such cases the relevant authorities will be required to take account of the National Park’s purposes and duty”(5.23).
Both national and local Policies have recognized that skirting a National Park boundary, with major developments such as high speed new roads, can be as unacceptable as traversing the Park.