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England to get new national park as part of nature plan

  • By Claire Marshall and Malcolm Prior
  • BBC News Rural Affairs Team

image source, BBC/Malcolm first

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Dartmoor National Park is one of ten existing parks in the UK sharing a £15m budget

England will get a new national park as part of the government’s suite of “nature commitments” to provide better access and protection for the countryside.

Natural England will consider a list of possible locations, which could include the Chilterns, Cotswolds and Dorset.

Some environmentalists greeted the news cautiously, as government funding for national parks has in fact decreased, forcing cuts in services and staff.

Funding of £15m has also been announced for a range of protected landscapes.

That will be shared by England’s 10 existing national parks and 34 national attractions, formerly known as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The package is part of the government’s final response to a 2019 review that criticized the way such protected landscapes are managed and funded.

image source, BBC/Malcolm first

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Dartmoor chief executive Kevin Bishop said any new national parks should not be created at someone else’s expense.

Landscape Magazine author Julian Glover, which has called for the creation of three new national parks in the Chilterns, Cotswolds and Dorset, said he was delighted there was “real progress backed up by some extra money”. to help our national landscapes and national parks do more for people and more for nature.”

“They are beautiful places that lift our souls and should be full of life, but now we need to find new and greater ambitions to support a country that needs them to thrive.”

But Dr Rose O’Neill, executive director of the Campaign for the National Parks, said existing parks had suffered a 40 per cent cut in real funding since 2010 and were “financially constrained”. “.

“Today’s investment will go some way to easing the burden in the short term, but the next crisis could be on the horizon,” she said.

Parks across the country have had to cut staffing and visitor services as core government subsidies have been reduced in real terms.

image source, BBC/Claire Marshall

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Thirty-four new landscape restoration projects will also be created under the ELM farm payments program

Kevin Bishop, chief executive of Dartmoor National Park, welcomed the news but had some reservations.

He said: “A new national park is good news for Britain. It’s great for our economy, it’s great for our environment.” “I think it’s important for existing national parks that the amount of money for new national parks needs to be higher than the amount of money that existing national parks receive.”

While he welcomed the £15m of new funding for bigger projects, he said what was really needed was more money to cover day-to-day running costs.

“What we really need is a revenue stream to pay staff on the ground,” he explained. Our feet on the ground help us carry out practical projects for nature and people.”

The creation of a new national park in England was a Conservative Party manifesto pledge and next year will mark 75 years since the act of Parliament authorizing its creation.

‘Extraordinary landscape’

The most recent national park established in the UK was the South Downs in 2010.

Wales and Scotland are also looking to establish a new national park.

Wednesday’s announcement by the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Steve Barclay, is just the start of a process that could take up to five years.

He told the BBC: “They are a really important part of our way of life and that’s why we launched this competition to build a new national park. And we’re going far.” more than that. We will invest an additional £5 million in this competition.” next year and a further £10m next year.”

He added that the government would fulfill its commitment to “stop the degradation of nature and protect at least 30% of our exceptional landscapes”.

The government said the £15m funding announced was new funding, with £10m to be released next year and a further £5m to be available this financial year from which public authorities National members can bid for grants to improve rivers, lakes and water quality.

Thirty-four new landscape restoration projects will also be created under the ELM farm payment plan, which will see 200,000 hectares of land managed to benefit nature and sustainable food production.

An additional £2.5 million in funding will be used to help disadvantaged young people access the countryside while £750,000 will be earmarked for research into protecting Britain’s temperate rainforests.

Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, Steve Reed, said that under the Conservatives, the UK had become “one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world”.


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