The Claimants say this case raises an important legal issue. ‘Can a public body which in law is not a National Park, represent itself (and allow itself to be represented) as a National Park and thereby to enjoy the benefits of National Park status despite the fact that that authority has decided to cease to seek to become a National Park inter alia because it does not wish to be subject to the legal duties imposed on National Parks and National Park Authorities?’
Held: The claim failed. The phrase ‘National Park’ had come to be an ordinary part of the English language describing an area of countryside, usually one important for its natural beauty, wildlife and recreation. The use of the phrase ‘national park’ was not exclusive to the statutory code for National Parks. The relevant legislation had no legal monopoly over the use of the term ‘national park’, whether capitalised or not.
‘, even if the view were to be taken that, as a matter of fairness, the Authority ought to have consulted on a proposal not to pursue ‘the long-term vision’ in the Broads Plan, it is plain that relief should be refused under section 31(2A). The only purpose which the Claimants suggested for requiring such consultation to have taken place is that consultees could have argued for the adoption of the Sandford Principle either now or in the future.’
 EWHC 799 (Admin),  WLR(D) 180,  1 WLR 567
National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
England and Wales
Administrative, Land, Planning
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.562131