National Parks Delivering a Better Environment

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Larger National Parks, more people visiting them, and more young people learning in these spectacular landscapes.  These are just some of the highlights in a new report [1] published today by National Parks England [2].  

The report shares the work that has been achieved to take forward the ambitions of the 8 Point Plan for England's National Parks [3] that was published by Ministers in March 2016.

Amongst many achievements, the report highlights:

  • Almost 100,000 – the number of young people who have been directly supported in visiting a National Park by the National Park Authority teams
  • 94 million – the number of visits to England’s National Parks
  • 5.5% - the increase in volunteer days achieved in one year
  • Announcements that have seen the expansion of the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks
  • The opening of the Northumberland Landscape Discovery Centre with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the country’s first
  • The decision by UNESCO to add the Lake District to the list of World Heritage Sites because of its cultural significance
  • A ground-breaking new partnership between the ten National Parks of England and Public Health England to promote health and well-being.

This work demonstrates the value that National Parks continue to provide society and their relevance as the Government looks to enhance the environment over the next 25 years.

National Parks Minister Lord Gardiner said: 

“England’s National Parks are some of our most impressive landscapes, which is why we want to unlock their full potential for future generations to enjoy.”

“With 94 million visitors a year and the Lake District now a World Heritage Site, it is clear our long-term plan has already made a real difference to these precious places – and I look forward to seeing even more progress over the coming years.”

Margaret Paren, Chair of National Parks England and the South Downs National Park Authority, said:

“The 8 Point Plan for England’s National Parks demonstrates an enduring commitment to National Parks and recognition that they are at the heart of our national identity, providing a vital source of wellbeing, inspiration and adventure for current and future generations.  Today’s report shows, that in just over a year we have achieved a great deal.  Over the course of the next few years we will seek to achieve the full range of ambitions set out within the 8 Point Plan. In doing so we will be building a bright future for our National Parks and making the most of these treasured national assets.”


1. England's National Parks 8 Point Plan Progress Report

2. England’s ten National Parks cover almost 10% of the country.  They are: Broads, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, North York Moors, Northumberland, Peak District, South Downs and Yorkshire Dales.

National Parks England (NPE) is the umbrella organisation that brings together the nine National Park Authorities (NPAs) and the Broads Authority.  It exists to support policy and practice by providing a collective voice for the views of the English NPAs; raising the profile of their work; facilitating discussion on issues of common concern; and working in partnership with other bodies. Follow us on Twitter @natparksengland

3. The 8 Point Plan for England’s National Parks was published by Ministers in March 2016 and is available on the Government’s website.

Contacts for further information:

Paul Hamblin, Executive Director, National Parks England
Tel: 020 3096 7979 Email:

For more information, call Defra press office on 020 8225 7319.

Contact details for Media Officers for each of the National Parks are available.