Sad loss of Sir Martin Doughty

Like many others, I was devastated to hear that Sir Martin Doughty died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. Martin was a great ally and friend and someone who always put service before his own interests. He was a towering figure in local politics in Derbyshire and it was in this capacity that he joined the Peak District National Park Authority. Martin was Deputy Chair – after having served as Chair for 9 years – when I was appointed and he offered his support generously and wisely. Throughout his time as chair of English Nature and then Natural England, Martin was always a passionate supporter of the Peak District and National Parks more generally. I will remember many times with Martin – clambering over Norwegian fjords with Martin and his wife Gilly, tough moments in planning committees here and in Ministerial offices in London. It was in influencing others to be as passionate as Martin that he was at his best. He’ll be missed by many. Below is the formal tribute the National Park Authority has issued today.

PR 575
05 March 2009
Tributes paid to environmental champion

Tributes were paid today (Thursday 5 March) to the former chair of the Peak District National Park Authority.

Sir Martin Doughty, who was chair of the authority between 1993 and 2002, died at home in New Mills yesterday after a long battle with cancer.

He served on the authority for more than 10 years and was also leader of Derbyshire County Council from 1992 to 2001, before becoming chair of English Nature and then its successor Natural England.

Narendra Bajaria, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “Everybody is very saddened to hear this tragic news.

“Martin has fought against cancer for several years and in all that time his energy and contribution to conservation and the environment has never dimmed.

“He set the agenda for public transport in the national park, was a big supporter of the rural economy and a stalwart on our planning committee, going through every application in detail.

“He was also a huge supporter of the Moors for the Future project which is restoring moorland to tackle the effects of climate change and help prevent flooding.

Sir Martin was also chair of the Association of National Park Authorities (ANPA) between 1997 and 2001 and received a knighthood in 2001 for services to local government in Derbyshire.

Narendra added: “We will be talking to Derbyshire County Council and Natural England to find a fitting and proper way to mark Martin’s significant contribution to conservation and the environment.”

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Media enquiries to John Fern, head of communications, Peak District National Park Authority on 01629 816356 or email john.fern@peakdistrict.gov.uk