STOP THE CUTS: Campaign for National Parks and 38 Degrees join forces to set up ten English National Parks walks to highlight the effects of the Government cuts on National Park services

National Parks will welcome hundreds of people this weekend as part of a unique partnership between the Campaign for National Parks and pressure group 38 Degrees to highlight our Stop the Cuts campaign.
Walks have been set up in all ten of the English National Parks on Saturday to enable people to meet together to learn more about the challenges facing our precious landscapes and to enjoy the glorious countryside.
National Park Authorities have had their Government budgets cut by up to 40% in real terms over the past five years and there is real concern that Defra – the lead Department for National Parks – will have to make huge cuts to meet the Government’s £20bn savings plan over the lifetime of this parliament.
Fiona Howie, Campaign for National Parks Chief Executive, said she was delighted that so many people were taking part in the walks to help promote the huge challenges facing National Park Authorities.
“National Parks are among the most beautiful and valued landscapes in the British Isles, containing some of our most breath-taking scenery, rare wildlife and cultural heritage. Ninety million visits are made to them every year, with people eager to enjoy their iconic landscapes, uninterrupted views and tranquillity.
“Our Parks are living landscapes, home to diverse communities, and must be conserved for the benefit of all – both now and in the future. That is why we are leading a campaign calling on the Government to stop cutting funding for the English National Parks and to make sure National Park Authorities have enough money to protect our most iconic landscapes for future generations.
“To deal with the huge funding cuts National Park Authorities have been forced to cut back on the maintenance of footpaths, close visitor centre and reduce funding for flood protection, forestry, climate change, education and ranger services.”
The walk comes a fortnight after the annual National Parks Week when the Minister Rory Stewart MP, described National Parks as the soul of Britain and as areas which brought together the environment, traditional farming communities, tourists and elements of our history, poetry and literature.
“I would like to work very closely with National Parks and the British public to make sure everybody in Britain has the unique experience of going to one of our National Parks,” he said in a You Tube video.
Ms Howie welcomed the Minister’s words but said warm words were not enough: “We recognise that National Parks need to continue to evolve and we know they are being proactive about accessing new sources of funding. But National parks are national assets and the Government needs to give them sufficient resources to make sure they continue to deliver important environmental, social, economic and cultural benefits to the nation,” she stressed.

Notes to Editors
The Campaign for National Parks last month published the findings of Freedom of Information requests sent to all ten National Parks on the effects of the cuts between 2010 and 2015 on services provided by them. A national briefing paper setting out the impact of these cuts can be found at www.cnp.org.uk/stop-cuts
Full details of all the walks and registration details can be found at https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/national-parks-hub
You can sign the 38 Degrees petition, which has the backing of more than 181,000 people, at https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/save-our-national-parks#petition
If you would like to support our campaign by donating or becoming a Friend of the Campaign for National Parks, you can find out more at : http://www.cnp.org.uk/save-our-national-parks
The You Tube video featuring National Parks Minister Rory Stewart can be found at http://www.youtube.com