Campaign for National Parks is absolutely delighted that in the spending review Chancellor George Osbourne has protected over £350 million funding for English National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and public forests.
National Parks will be given “legal flexibilities to allow them to build sustainable, long-term revenue streams and boost growth in rural areas.”
We have been campaigning against cutting funding to National Park Authorities through our Stop the Cuts campaign working in collaboration with 38 Degrees.
Whilst it is fantastic that National Parks, AONBs and forests have been protected, it’s not all good news. The Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will have to find savings of 15% and we don’t yet know what that means for other parts of their work.
Fiona Howie chief executive of Campaign for National Parks has said, “It is great news that the Chancellor has listened to concerns about the future of English National Parks and confirmed their funding will be protected for the rest of this Parliament. National Parks are nationally important assets which deliver important environmental, social, economic and cultural benefits to both local communities and the nation and it’s wonderful that their value has been recognised.
We know, however, National Parks face a wide range of development threats including from new infrastructure and house building. We do not want these landscapes preserved in aspic, they must be thriving communities, but this will only be achieved through appropriate development. So we will be looking at the wide range of announcements made today to fully understand the implications on our designated landscapes.”