National Parks Manifesto: Parks need stronger protection and a fairer share of resources

"National Parks in the 21stCentury: A Manifesto for the next Westminster Government” argues that National Parks are essential to the nation’s health and well-being and are an important part of our cultural heritage.

The manifesto – the first of its kind produced by CNP - says that National Parks, such as the Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and Dartmoor must be protected for all, not just now but for future generations.

Julian Woolford, the Campaign for National Parks’ chief executive, said: “National Parks face an unprecedented level of threats due to the increasing demand for land for housing, transport and other infrastructure and the drive to boost economic growth.

“We are currently facing the biggest road programme for decades along with plans for Europe’s largest potash mine in the North York Moors. The Government has also failed to take account of the extra protection for National Parks in recent proposals to remove the need for planning permission when converting light industrial buildings to housing development."

Mr Woolford added:“We want the next Government to ensure that the extra protection that National Parks currently have is recognised and effectively enforced in the planning and delivery of all publicly funded infrastructure, including that being delivered by the Local Enterprise Partnerships.

"We also want to see enhanced protection against major development in National Parks by strengthening existing planning guidance and including the presumption against major developments in National Parks in legislation,”

Mr Woolford stressed that he was keen to see an increase in opportunities for National Parks to be able to target sources of UK and EU funding being made available to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), which help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation, and through LEADER and LIFE funding, which financially supports rural business and the environment.

“It is vital to ensure that LEPs support job creation in high quality food production, landscape enhancement, tourism, green businesses and recreation and wildlife,” he added.

As well as demanding stronger planning protection and a greater share of financial resources, the manifesto calls for an increase in sustainable access to National Parks, saying the Local Sustainable Transport Fund should be maintained until 2021, to support improved public transport links and better facilities for walkers and cyclists.

It also calls for existing funding for sporting activities to be extended so that it can be used to support school visits, saying every child should have an opportunity to visit a National Park.

And it suggests that a Commission should be set up to consider the need for new or extended National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Notes to Editors:

The Manifesto, along with a detailed background briefing, can be found on the Campaign for National Park’s website -http://www.cnp.org.uk/manifesto-national-parks

The Manifesto contains a range of facts and figures showing how National Parks already contribute to tourism and recreation, the rural economy, combating climate change and value for money.

The Campaign for National Parks is the independent national voice for the 13 National Parks in England and Wales (North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, New Forest, Northumberland, Lake District, Peak District, The Broads, Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia, South Downs, Exmoor and Dartmoor).

Our mission is to inspire everyone to enjoy and look after National Parks – the nation’s green treasures. For over 75 years we have been campaigning to ensure that our National Parks are beautiful, inspirational places that are relevant, valued and protected for all.

National Parks are our finest landscapes with the highest level of protection. Their statutory purposes as set out in the Environment Act 1995 are:

·     to conserve and enhance natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage; and

·     to promote opportunities for public enjoyment and understanding of their special qualities.

In pursuing these purposes, National Park Authorities also have a statutory duty to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of communities living within the National Park.

Further information and media inquiries can be obtained from Tony McDougal, CNP communications and stakeholder engagement manager (Tel: 07766133788) tonym@cnp.org.uk.