PROPOSALS for a national park in Dorset have been backed by the Dorset Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) pressure group.

Dorset CPRE has produced a report, after consulting with Dorset planning consultant Jo Witherden, supporting the bid , which has been ongoing now for several years, to create a Dorset National Park

The proposed park would cover the whole of the current Dorset and East Devon AONBs, as well as Purbeck and Egdon Heath.

Peter Neal, Dorset CPRE chairman of trustees, said: "We are pleased to share with you the National Park report and the formidable and wide-ranging evidence which it provides to support the designation of a national park for rural Dorset."

The report recommends work continues with a view to extending the evidence available to support the process.

A CPRE spokesman said: "Dorset CPRE supports the proposal for a Dorset National Park which would work with our councils, communities and other stakeholders including businesses, farmers, landowners, societies and agencies, for living, working, thriving, successful and sustainable communities, environment and economy throughout Dorset.

"Dorset CPRE would wish the National Park to include as much as possible of rural Dorset and, subject to assessment, to align with the Dorset Council area. To assist the government-appointed Glover Review and to facilitate further detailed assessment, we commissioned Jo Witherden, an experienced and respected Dorset planner, to review the evidence, based on the key criteria for national park designation, for a National Park based on the Dorset Council area."

The Glover Review, an independent review on areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks, being carried out by government.