Independent review calls for radical plan for England’s National Parks

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Major review calls for biggest shakeup of the running of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty since they were founded 70 years ago.

Seventy years after the Act of Parliament that created the first National Parks, a major independent review – led by writer Julian Glover – has called for bold action to reignite the founding spirit of our great National Park movement in order to make them greener, more beautiful and open to everyone.

The review published today (Saturday 21 September) praises the brilliant work which has been done to maintain the beauty of places such as the Lake District, Exmoor and the Dorset coast.

But it warns that new challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and a changing, urban society mean that new approaches are needed to get the most out of England’s most-loved landscapes, including National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).

Key recommendations include:

  • a new National Landscapes Service to act as a unified body for England’s 44 national landscapes, including 10 National Parks and 34 AONBs
  • creating a 1,000 strong ranger service to be the “friendly face” of our national parks and help engage schools and communities
  • giving every school pupil the opportunity to spend a night “under the stars” in these special landscapes to help more children to connect with nature
  • new protections, responsibilities, titles and funding for AONBs to help them be greener, more beautiful and more welcoming to the public
  • a transformed approach to recover and enhance nature, working with farmers and conservation groups to reverse years of decline and bring landscapes alive
  • backing for a new National Park in the Chilterns and a new National Forest, taking in areas such as Sherwood Forest, as part of a drive to increase woodland spaces to fight climate change

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which commissioned the review, will now consider the recommendations.

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