Every school pupil should have the opportunity to spend a night “under the stars” in the countries National Parks to help more children to connect with nature
That is one of the recommendations of a major independent review – led by writer Julian Glover which has called for bold action to reignite the founding spirit of the National Park movement in order to make them greener, more beautiful and open to everyone.
The review published today praises the brilliant work which has been done to maintain the beauty of places such as the Lake District, Exmoor and the Dorset coast.
But it warns that new challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and a changing, urban society mean that new approaches are needed to get the most out of England’s most-loved landscapes, including National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).
Other recommendations include setting up a new National Landscapes Service to act as a unified body for England’s 44 national landscapes, including 10 National Parks and 34 AONBs and creating a 1,000 strong ranger service to be the “friendly face” of national parks and help engage schools and communities
Welcoming the findings, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:
These landscapes are the jewels in the crown of our countryside and are a cornerstone of our rural economy. We are committed to ensuring they flourish as havens for nature and sites that everyone in the country goes to visit for inspiration, adventure or relaxation.
That’s why we asked Julian and his panel to conduct this review and I am very grateful to them for their efforts. I welcome and agree with the spirit of ambition, which is in line with our 25 Year Environment Plan, and we will now carefully consider the recommendations set out in the review.
Julian Glover, who led the review, said:
From the high fells of the Lake District to the wildness of Exmoor, England’s most beautiful places define our country. Today we are setting out a big, bold plan to bring them alive to tackle the crisis in our natural environment and make sure they are there for everyone to enjoy.
If we take action, we can make our country healthier, happier, greener, more beautiful and part of all our lives. Seventy years ago this year we created our national parks for a nation that had just won the Second World War. Now it’s time to reignite that mission.