Getting more money into the National Parks?

The National Parks Partnership, a new initiative that will enable businesses to engage with all 15 of the UK National Parks, has been launched today

The Partnership will enable the Parks to work together to seek funding from businesses that will “enhance the quality and utility of the Parks now and for future generations”.

We recognise the need to bring new funding into the Parks and welcome attempts by the National Parks to be innovative about accessing new sources of income. But it is essential that any new funding does not lead to the commercialisation of them.

Fiona Howie, our chief executive said, “Already, too many people are unable to access and enjoy our National Parks. Past funding cuts have meant that novel approaches to public transport have been stopped and local businesses have been closed, as well as less money being invested in conservation work. We know there is a need to get more funding for the Parks to benefit rural businesses, visitors and wildlife.”

We welcomed the announcement in November 2015 that the Westminster Government was protecting funding for the English Parks. However, this is not the case for all UK National Parks and the Welsh Parks have faced more cuts. Over the past two years, for example, Snowdonia National Park Authority has suffered a 14% cut of £872,000 and in the financial year of 2016 the Authority will have to cut a further £423,000.

Fiona concluded, “While we support innovative approaches to getting more funding for our National Parks, we would not want to see the Partnership accepting funding with inappropriate requirements or obligations attached. The National Parks are national assets that provide environmental, economic, social and cultural benefits. They are valued by communities and tourists but need to be sufficiently resourced to maximise their potential. New income streams must not undermine the quality of these areas or lead to the commercialisation of the Parks. Any new partnerships should enable work that is in line with the purposes of these beautiful places so they are enhanced for the benefit of everyone.”

More info: 

As part of our ‘Stop the Cuts’ campaign, before the budget announcement in November 2015 about English National Parks, we produced a briefing about the impact of the funding cuts on the Parks to date. It is available here.

Press release: Getting more money into the National Parks: Campaign for National Parks responds to the launch of National Parks Partnership available here