How are members appointed?
County, district and borough council members
These members are elected by their constituencies at local government elections to serve as councillors before being nominated by their council to be a national park member.
There are 12 county, district and borough council members – five from Hampshire County Council, four from New Forest District Council, two from Wiltshire County Council and one from Test Valley Borough Council.
The number of members from each council is in accordance with a formula set out in the New Forest National Park Authority’s Establishment Order (a piece of legislation that establishes a National Park).
Council members are appointed for the same length of time as their terms of office on a council or until the next local government election, which is normally four years. If re-elected and nominated to be a national park member they can serve again.
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs members
Candidates for Secretary of State members go through a stringent interviewing process by a panel appointed by Defra. They are appointed for their ability to represent a wider national viewpoint and for their specialist experience and knowledge in relation to specific areas of national park purposes and duties such as business, conservation, environment and tourism.
These positions are widely advertised in the local press, on national park authority websites and through Defra and Natural England. Once a suitable candidate has been chosen by the panel, the Secretary of State is then asked to ratify the decision.
There are six Secretary of State members who serve for a period of four years after which time the Secretary of State will re-advertise the position. Current incumbents may re-apply for re-appointment. The overall term is limited to a maximum of eight years.
Secretary of State (Parish) members
Parish Council members of a national park authority are elected for their local level knowledge and to represent grass roots views.
Parish members are chosen following an election process by the New Forest Association of Local Councils who recommends these appointments to the Secretary of State for approval.
In order to be considered as a Secretary of State (Parish) member they must be an elected parish councillor. On the New Forest National Park Authority there are four Secretary of State (Parish) members, each elected to represent a quadrant of the Park comprising of a number of parish councils. Their primary role is to ensure that the views of all local communities across the New Forest National Park are represented and considered.
As with local authority representatives on the Authority, parish council members are appointed for four years or until the next parish council elections. If re-elected on their parish council they are eligible for re-appointment on the Authority through an election process to serve another four years.