Glover Review – two years on and still waiting

  • Contributor information: CNP

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21 Sep 2021

Today marks two years since the publication of Julian Glover’s Landscapes Review. The independent review, more commonly known as the Glover Review, looked at the future of protected landscapes in England and included 27 recommendations going forward. Two years on, in this critical year for landscapes, people and nature, we are still waiting for the Government’s response.

Key recommendations

Campaign for National Parks contributed to the Review, welcomed its ambition and supported many of Glover’s recommendations, including:

  • New powers and duties to enable National Parks to prioritise the nature and climate crises.
  • A new approach to enable everyone, no matter their background, to access the nation’s National Parks, including more sustainable ways of accessing national landscapes
  • A new financial model – more money, more secure, more enterprising

When the Government released the full report back in 2019, we hoped to see a swift response leading to clear decisive action to protect and improve our National Parks. Instead, we find ourselves two years down the line with nothing but holding statements and teasers from the Government.

A critical time for National Parks

Campaign for National Parks, together with our partners, has repeatedly called for action at this critical time for landscapes.

The global pandemic has seen more people turning to National Parks to help them through. This has provided many people with opportunity to experience their beauty and wonder for the first time, and provides a clear foundation for Government action to increase inclusive access to the outdoors. Yet the English Parks have had to cope with no budget uplifts, amounting to year-on-year of real-term cuts.

All the while, National Parks are also having to deal with the growing impact of climate change as outlined in our National Parks and the Climate Emergency report released earlier this year. National Parks are part of the national solution to the climate crisis, but they are being held back by lack of Government support and action.

The impact of inaction

In lieu of a full government response, we are missing key opportunities to protect and improve our National Parks.

“It’s been two years since the publication of the Review, but the Review itself was over a year in the making,” says Campaign for National Parks’ Chair Janette Ward, “Campaign for National Parks submitted our response way back in 2018 – which seems like a lifetime ago now. In that time, we have seen the impact of inaction. Our existing National Parks are doing what they can under the circumstances, but implementing the Glover proposals would make a big difference, helping enable protected landscapes to play a leading role in the green recovery.

“The Review opened a crucial conversation about the future of our National Parks, but our Parks need more than warm words – they need action.”

70 years of National Parks

Janette added: “The release of the Review in 2019 coincided with the 70th anniversary of The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, the legislation to create the first National Parks in England and Wales. This year, we’ve been celebrating the 70th anniversaries of the designation of the first National Parks. This means, it took the post-war Government less time from passing legislation to designating the first four National Parks than it’s taken the current government to publish the Glover Review and release a full response to it.”

Campaign for National Parks calls on the Government to urgently set out ambitious plans for National Parks and wider landscapes. This is critical to meet Government targets on climate and biodiversity loss, and to ensure people can access the health and wellbeing benefits of these special places as the nation recovers from the pandemic.