We welcome the Westminster Government’s renewed focus on the state of the environment and we hope that today’s launch of the 25 Year Environment Plan will lead to stronger protection for, and improvements in, our National Parks.
Campaign for National Parks, which has campaigned for over 80 years to defend and enhance England and Wales’ National Parks, welcomes recognition by the Government for the beauty and contribution of high quality landscapes to the richness of our countryside.
From the confirmation of the first National Park in the Peak District in 1951, to England’s youngest National Park, the South Downs, in 2010, the creation of designated landscapes – which also include Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) – has been among the outstanding environmental achievements of the past 100 years. They provide a patchwork of stunning, and protected, landscapes.
Chief executive of Campaign for National Parks, Fiona Howie said: “National Parks are a national asset, providing space for wildlife, cultural heritage, recreation and spiritual wellbeing. I am pleased to see plans to enhance the quality of the landscapes and increase the amount of young people accessing National Parks.
We believe that there are huge benefits to the wellbeing of everyone as a result of access to our most beautiful landscapes. But this needs to be made possible without damaging the special qualities of these places.”
Proposals for National Parks include:
- A review of National Parks for the 21st century. This will look at how designated landscapes meet their responsibilities, how they are financed and scope for expansion.
- Working with National Park Authorities to continue to deliver the 8-Point Plan for National Parks 2016-2020.
- Aims to double the 60,000 young people a year engaging with National Park Authorities.
- Working to improve the environment of National Parks including the beauty of the landscape.
In her speech, the Prime Minister also gave assurances that environmental protections will not weaken following the UK’s exit from the European Union. Campaign for National Parks wants to see this commitment reflected in legislation: "Because we recognise their value, we will incorporate all existing EU environmental regulations into domestic law when we leave. And let me be very clear. Brexit will not mean a lowering of environmental standards".
“As the Prime Minister said in her speech, improving the health and diversity of our natural environment for future generations is crucial. The National Parks should have a key role to play in achieving this and we hope the propped review is a chance for government to identify opportunities to make the Parks more accessible, more beautiful and better protected," Fiona concluded.
Campaign for National Parks looks forward to further examining the implications of the 25 Year Environment Plan for National Parks.