VIDEO: Environment Minister launches Love Your National Parks campaign

Environment Minister Richard Benyon visited north Northumberland yesterday to launch a new National Park campaign.

Love Your National Parks is a national celebration of England’s top ten protected areas.

Minister for the Environment, Richard Benyon MP, took a tour of some of the representative work of Northumberland National Park Authority which illustrated the organisation’s essential local role in providing these benefits.

The Minister began his visit at Branton School to officially launch the new ‘Love Your National Parks’ celebration. The school is a striking example of how teachers and parents turned a threatened school into a thriving school with the support of the National Park Authority. He met Coun Anthony Murray, deputy chairman of the National Park Authority, Alison Lloyd-Harris, headteacher and Laura Capper, chairman of Governors of Branton School and the children.

Coun Murray said: “Branton school, like the National Park, is part of the community and it is also the mainstay of a viable parish. I am proud as a National Park Authority member that we are in a position to work with local people to maintain thriving communities in our uplands and to help educate new generations of custodians of our National Park.”

The tour continued to Ingram, accompanied by John Riddle, chairman; Tony Gates, chief executive and members of the National Park Authority. James Shell of Brandon Farm and Peter Kerr, Environment Agency, introduced the Minister to the Riverside Flood Protection work facilitated by local partners following severe Mr Benyon heard how the National Park Authority is working on a landscape scale to deliver the conservation objectives of the Natural Environment White Paper through its Border Uplands Restoration Project and the Northern Upland Chain Local Nature Partnership intentions for a new Landscape Discovery Centre at Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site, and its plans to strengthen tourism and the local economy in Northumberland.

At the end of the afternoon, The Minister was taken to see the work that has been done to restore large sections of heather moorland in the Cheviot Hills.

Speaking of his his experience at the grass roots of National Park business, Mr Benyon said: “Our national parks are some of the most treasured places across the country with ninety million visitors every year. National parks play a key role in rural economic growth, as they are home to thousands of businesses and provide benefits to local communities. I fully support this great campaign and hope it encourages people to visit, enjoy and love our national parks.”

National Parks, beyond being the Country’s most important landscapes and vital reservoirs for biodiversity, are valuable generators of wealth and economic activity.

The ‘Love Your National Parks’ celebration continues throughout 2013 with a range of events in England’s ten National Parks including Northumberland National Park, together with national announcements about how National Park Authorities are working with partners.