The National Parks contain thriving, living working communities who contribute greatly to the National Parks. Over 320,000 people live in them, and they are home to 22,500 businesses. Embracing their needs in a way that respects the special qualities of the National Park requires careful planning. The National Park Authorities (NPAs) are local planning authorities for their areas and work with land owners, businesses and local communities to support sustainable development and neighbourhood planning.
Around 90 per cent of planning applications are approved by National Park Authorities, and much work goes into providing early advice and support to help applicants deliver high quality developments. Sustaining the high quality environment of National Parks helps retain their value for tourism, and a host of other local enterprises who benefit economically from these beautiful areas.
Often a different planning approach is required in National Parks to elsewhere in recognition of their sensitivity. One example is the provision of housing. House prices tend to be higher in National Parks, and the NPAs adopt policies to specifically address the shortage of local needs housing, rather than catering for large scale and inappropriate housing development. Successive Governments have sought to reform the planning process and National Parks England aims to ensure the new proposals are fit for purpose in National Parks.