Manifesto plans for new National Parks welcomed

  • Contributor information: CNP

28 November 2019

Campaign for National Parks has welcomed plans for new National Park designations in Conservative and Liberal Democrat manifestos, and details of ten new National Nature Parks released today by the Labour Party. The charity welcomes the importance that has been attached to the National Parks and the benefits they can bring the nation.  

However, Campaign for National Parks urges every party to think about how to address the stubborn issues currently preventing the existing National Parks from achieving the full vision of their founders.

Furthermore, the charity highlights the importance of ensuring that new designations are underpinned by robust policies and improved structures to ensure that National Parks are properly protected and enhanced. It is also essential that new designations are accompanied by new funding streams to ensure that existing budgets are not reduced.

Labour’s ‘plan for nature’ released today [28 November] includes:

  • 10 new designations of “National Nature Parks” increasing National Parks’ land coverage by 50%. Proposed areas include the Cotswolds, the Chiltern Hills, the North and South Pennines, Coastal Suffolk, Coastal Dorset, Wessex and the Lincolnshire Wolds. the Malvern Hills, extensions to the National Forest and sites for Marine Nature Parks.
  • Increased the funding for the National Park authorities by 50%, from under £50m each year to almost £75m each year.

The Conservative Party manifesto:

  • A commitment to create new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and to take action to ensure our landscapes are enhanced and open to all, following publication of the Glover Review which was commissioned by the Government last year.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto

  • A commitment to invest in large scale restoration of peatlands, heathland and native woodlands to help absorb carbon and to pilot “rewilding” approaches.

Helvellyn in the Lake District National Park. Photo credit: Dominic Donnini

Andrew Hall of Campaign for National Parks commented: “National Parks are important to addressing some of the most challenging issues facing us all including the climate emergency, a mental health crisis and the catastrophic loss of wildlife. It is only right that our politicians give them the tools and resources they need.”

“We delighted that National Parks have a prominent place in most party manifestos at this General Election. And the prospect of new National Parks is very exciting.”

The National Park charity has been pushing for increased efforts to improve nature and accessibility to the National Parks in this, the year of the 70th anniversary of the Act of Parliament that created National Parks.

The latest review of England’s designated landscapes, led by journalist Julian Glover, highlighted the many issues facing the existing National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This includes wildlife loss, a lack of accessibility to marginalised communities, a lack of car-free access and improvements to be made to how the Parks are run.

2018 research from Campaign for National Parks shows the state of nature in our National Parks, which were designated with a purpose of protecting nature, is not good enough. 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 England.

“Our existing family of protected landscapes are our most special places but the issues they face are serious. Campaign for National Parks urges every Party to take a close look at how they might unravel the complex issues in our most treasured landscapes,” continued Andrew.