Sandford Principle

Sandford Principle

The Sandford Principle is a concept in the management of protected landscapes in the United Kingdom. It is called the Sandford Principle after Lord Sandford who chaired the National Parks PolicyReview Committee which reviewed national parks of England and Wales in between 1971 and 1974.

:"National Park Authorities can do much to reconcile public enjoyment with the preservation of natural beauty by good planning and management and the main emphasis must continue to be on this approach wherever possible. But even so, there will be situations where the two purposes are irreconcilable... Where this happens, priority must be given to the conservation of natural beauty." (Lord Sandford, 1974)"

The two purposes of National Parks are, in short,
#conservation of the natural environment and
#access for the public.Considering the economic and social well-being of the community is also a duty.

Most of the time it is possible to achieve both by good management. Occasionally a situation arises where access for the public is in direct conflict with conservation. Following the Sandford principle, the Environment Act 1995 sets down that in such cases conservation must take priority. Similar provision has been made for Scottish national parks.

The Sandford Principle is often misquoted as "conservation has priority over recreation"; however, importantly, it is better summarised as, "where those two purposes cannot be reconciled by skilful management, conservation should come first".

The Sandford Principle was first used in UK National Park management, and is still most commonly encountered in that context. However, where this dilemma has occurred in the management of other sites where public pressure and wildlife conservation might be in conflict, the principle has been quoted in the discussions about how to proceed. Although its legal force is restricted to National Parks, it seems as though this important principle may have wider uses.

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