January 2024 –
To celebrate the 75th anniversary year of National Parks, the nine National Park Societies from across England have signed a joint-letter calling on the political parties to put forward bold manifesto commitments at the next election to restore protected landscapes.
The letter, co-signed by Campaign for National Parks, highlights the vital role that National Parks can play in tackling the nature, climate, health and societal crises facing the UK, if properly supported by an ambitious programme of action at the next Westminster election.
The National Park Societies and the Campaign for National Parks have outlined eight manifesto ‘asks’ to secure the long-term health of the parks.These asks were unanimously agreed upon at the National Park Society Conference in the Lake District in late 2023. The full manifesto asks are as follows:
- A long-term commitment restoring government funding to pre 2010-levels
- Every child to have an adventure in a Protected Landscape as part of the National Curriculum.
- Water companies to prioritise ending river and lake pollution in National Parks
- Greater financial rewards for farmers’ efforts to restore nature in National Parks
- Effective regulation to control holiday lets and second homes
- Stronger powers to manage visitor numbers and implement visitor charging for the long-term health of the parks
- Improve sustainable travel in National Parks through innovative car charging schemes
- Retain and improve existing planning controls within National Parks, including removing them from freeport zones and retaining permitted development right exemptions
At the Dartmoor Preservation Association, we believe our involvement in the campaign is essential for the future of our UK National Parks. Dartmoor has its own set of challenges and characteristics that need specific, tailored solutions. But some issues cut across all of them; funding, equality of public access and the role of National Parks in the climate emergency. In supporting this important national campaign we aim to ensure that policies and commitments address the unique needs of Dartmoor, taking into account its diverse ecosystems and cultural heritage.
We believe very strongly in the power of collaboration. By contributing to a collective effort that spans multiple National Park Societies, we can more strongly advocate for policies that safeguard the long-term wellbeing of Dartmoor and its fellow National Parks.
“Politicians and decision makers everywhere need to understand the crucial role of National Parks to all UK citizens. Climate change, a crowded island, UK finances, equality & inequality, mental & physical wellbeing; National Parks are lightning rods for all of it and offer some of the solutions. At the DPA we’re determined to get Dartmoor a better deal in election manifestos: More funding, more focus, clear-eyed focus on public goods” – Tom Usher DPA CEO
Signatories on the letter are Campaign for National Parks, The Broads Society, Friends of the Lake District, North York Moors Association, Friends of the Dales, The Exmoor Society, Friends of the South Downs, CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire, Dartmoor Preservation Association and Friends of the New Forest.
Members of the public can help. Please sign the petition and help send our political leaders a powerful message that National Parks matter.