National Parks at a crossroads: Campaign for National Parks calls for a moratorium on budget cuts and high-level roundtable this year to consider how to secure long-term future for treasured landscapes

Calls for a moratorium on future budget cuts to National Parks and the establishment of a high-level round-table this year to consider how to ensure the future of National Parks were made today by the Campaign for National Parks.
The charity said it would like to see a commitment to no further reductions in the funding allocated to National Park Authorities over the next Parliament and for representatives of National Park Authorities, Government, the charitable sector and business to explore how National Parks are protected and funded in future.
The call comes at a time when more than 160,000 people have signed a petition by pressure group 38 Degrees calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to stop the cuts.
National Park Authorities, largely funded by Government to look after National Parks, have experienced up to 40 per cuts in their budgets in the last five years. This has so far led to 252 job losses in National Parks in England and Wales.
National Park Authorities have also been forced to put iconic landscapes up for sale, cut back on the maintenance of rights of way, reduce funding for conservation projects, cut grant support for apprenticeships, stop school visits programmes and close visitor centres, catering for the 90m visitors per annum to the National Parks.
Julian Woolford, Campaign for National Parks chief executive, said he was frustrated at the piecemeal approach to the cuts and the lack of innovative thinking to ensure their future.
“The current approach to cuts is piecemeal, short-termist and relentless.
“We have to stop the cuts and get the best brains in government, the National Park Authorities, the charitable sector and business to develop an exciting, properly-funded vision for the future of National Parks as soon as possible.”
Mr Woolford added that each of the National Park Authorities had a budget smaller than that of a comprehensive school, showing they represent incredibly good value for the benefits they deliver.
National Park Authorities have made a number of changes to mitigate the cuts including the launch of philanthropic charitable organisations; the setting up of National Park Enterprises – a company limited by guarantee; specific sponsorship deals, such as a fragrance deal with US firm Airwick; the leasing of treasured national assets and a drive to get more Heritage Lottery Funding for major projects.

Notes to Editors:

1   Campaign for National Parks research has shown a range of cuts across National Park activity. To see a list of ten areas of cutbacks go to our campaigns page - www.cnp.org.uk/news/ten-impacts-government-cuts-national-parks

2   The 38 Degrees petition can be found at https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/save-our-national-park#petition

3   Our Manifesto call on the next Westminster government to publicly reconfirm its commitment to Natinal Parks by strengthening their protection, ensuring they get a fair share of resources and increasing the opportunities to visit them. Our Manifesto can be found at www.cnp.org.uk/manifesto-national-parks

4   The Campaign for National Parks has been campaigning for nearly 80 years to ensure that our National Parks are beautiful, inspirational places that are relevant, protected and valued for all.

5   More information on the size and scale of the cuts can be obtained from CNP's Communications manager Tony McDougal (Tel: 07766133788)or email tonym@cnp.org.uk

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