A wake up call in our National Parks for our politicians

17 September 2019

CEO Corinne Pluchino speaks out ahead of publication of the Glover Review

Campaign for National Parks, the only national, independent charity dedicated to protecting and enhancing the National Parks in England and Wales, has urged Government to demonstrate leadership on the future of National Parks. The call follows the first day of the UK National Parks Conference [17 September] and ahead of the expected publication of the Glover review of designated landscapes.

Campaign for National Parks urges the new Secretary of State Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP to give priority to Julian Glover’s review of National Parks and other designated landscapes, which is due to be published shortly, despite a crowded political environment. The opportunity must not be lost to protect their beauty and tranquillity, and to recapture the vision that inspired their foundation seventy years ago.

Exmoor by Julia Amies Green

Stunning Exmoor National Park. Photo credit: Julia Amies Green

Julian Glover’s review was commissioned by the former Environment Secretary, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, to make recommendations on the future of the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). In July 2019 Mr Glover published his interim findings, in which he said that “We should not be satisfied with what we have at the moment” and that more needs to be done to support those working to protect our most precious landscapes. The report is expected shortly and the Government will then issue a response.

The National Parks have achieved a great deal in the last seventy years, but they also face some unacceptable challenges that need to be given priority including:

  • Research by Campaign for National Parks showed nearly 75% of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in the English National Parks are in an ‘unfavourable condition’. This compares to 61.3% of the total SSSIs in England1.
  • Damaging development still being considered in the National Parks – for example proposals for the A27 Arundel bypass in the South Downs that threatens acres of ancient woodland.
  • The delays to legislation to reform financial support for farmers to encourage more environmentally sustainable farming after Brexit – resulting in continued uncertainty.
  • National Parks remain off limits to too many parts of society - children from the most deprived areas are 20% less likely to spend time outside than those in affluent areas2.

Corinne Pluchino, Chief Executive of Campaign for National Parks, said: “There are huge challenges to some of the most famous landscapes in the country that need to be addressed urgently. The publication of the Glover review needs to be a wake-up call for all our politicians and all those who care about the environment we leave future generations. We look forward to reading the review and, critically, the Government’s full response to it.”

She continued: “The National Parks agenda is an ideal opportunity for Government to seize the momentum and take on these big challenges.  There is a chance to show leadership and work with others to test new ways of doing things, such as landscape protection, wildlife conservation and improved access, which could be applied more widely across the countryside. A determined Government can prevent the further weakening of England’s beautiful National Parks and enable them to play a fuller role in addressing climate change.”

National Parks – key facts

  • Across England and Wales, the Parks receive nearly 100 million visitors who enjoy beautiful sites, fresh air, dark skies and healthy activities.
  • England’s National Parks contain 15% of all designated Heritage sites
  • National Parks are world famous landscapes that have inspired Britain’s very best artists. The Lake District alone boasts inspiration for the likes of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Ruskin and Potter.
  • 2019 is the 70th anniversary of the Act of Parliament that gave society National Parks, Campaign for National Parks has led celebrations of the anniversary over the year.

Ends

Andrew Hall: 0207 981 0891, 07394388645 or email andrew@cnp.org.uk

Campaign for National Parks

Campaign for National Parks is the only national charity dedicated to campaigning to protect and promote all the 13 National Parks of England and Wales.

National Parks are inspiring and breath-taking areas of our country. They are part of our cultural heritage, are important for wildlife, contain beautiful landscapes and benefit the nation. They are living and working landscapes and more than 100 million people visit the Parks in England and Wales each year.

Campaign for National Parks works with a wide variety of people and organisations, representing shared concerns, views and voices. We come together to address issues affecting National Parks and take action to keep these beautiful places safe.

For more information visit www.cnp.org.uk.

1 Raising the bar: improving nature in our National Parks (2018)

2 Natural England MENE report, September 2019 https://deframedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/09/04/natural-england-research-on-the-natural-environment/