The South Downs National Park Authority takes over the running of Britain’s newest national park from today (Friday 1 April).
The authority has been welcomed by Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth which was one of the key organisations in the campaign to win national park status for the South Downs.
Chris Todd, from Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth, said: “We warmly welcome the new national park authority and hope it can hit the ground running.
“There is a lot of expectation out there and much work to be done.
“People thought that once the announcement was made things would start to happen.
“Unfortunately, it’s not been that simple.
“The new authority faces many challenges, not least funding.
“We feel national park authorities have been unfairly targeted for cuts given that they are an example of the Big Society in action.
“They are heavily involved with partnership working and bring many benefits to society.
“The new authority will also face challenges from development, not least the calls for new road building along the south coast and the easing of planning regulations.
“In the government’s dash for growth there is a danger that some of our most precious natural assets will get trampled.
“We cannot allow that to happen and the new authority must be a strong defender of the South Downs.”
The government announced that it would grant national park status to the South Downs two years ago and the designation order creating the national park was signed this time last year.