Nearly half of people surveyed on the future of the UK’s National Parks are concerned they will deteriorate if funding levels are reduced in coming years, according to a survey by the newly-formed National Parks Partnerships.
Meanwhile, 85 per cent say that their perception of a large company would improve if it provided the parks with support.
Launched this week, the National Parks Partnerships has been created to enable businesses to readily engage with all 15 UK Parks to enhance their quality and utility now and for future generations.
Tony Gates, chief executive at Northumberland National Park, which was recently declared National Park of the Year in a public vote, welcomed the new initiative, saying: “This is particularly pleasing because it has the potential to complement the enterprising strategy we are already deploying across Northumberland National Park.”
He added: “The initiative creates a great opportunity for National Parks to work together to develop larger-scale partnerships which will support our vision for Northumberland’s exceptional landscapes, history and heritage to be explored and enjoyed by as many people as possible, while helping to create new and sustainable revenue streams for the long-term benefit of the Park and all who enjoy it.”
In the survey of 2000 people across the UK, 67 per cent strongly agreed that children need to get active in the great outdoors and nature and become real kids again and 68 per cent strongly agreed that everyone should have the basic right to access nature in green spaces, fresh air and places like the National Parks.
Current plans for major partnerships include an Active Parks Partner to promote health and wellbeing activities within the National Parks; a Parks Discovery Partner to help provide for children who wouldn’t normally get the chance to have educational experiences in outdoor classrooms in Parks; an official outdoor clothing supplier to the UK’s 255 National Park rangers; a national funder for the Miles without Stiles programme that creates and maintains accessible paths; and opportunities to collaborate on environmental initiatives including sustainable transport, water and carbon management.
Steve Curl, chairman of the board and spokesman for the National Parks Partnership, said: “Government and the general public provide important support to the National Parks, but we need additional commitments to make sure that they are not only sustained but enhanced for future generations.
“Partnership with responsible businesses – without commercialisation – can deliver the support needed to secure benefits from parks for the massive number of visitors from the UK and overseas, local communities and the environment.”