New Forest National Park is open for business – spread the word

The Burley Stores

Published Monday 19 January 2015

National Parks – famous for their beauty and splendour are also home to thousands of thriving businesses.

And now the National Park Authorities (NPAs), including the New Forest, are teaming up with local businesses to ensure they flourish and grow into the future.

National Parks England [1] is today (Monday) publishing an Offer to the network of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) [2] that Government established to spearhead economic growth and employment. The Offer signals an intention to unlock the potential of National Parks to deliver sustainable economic growth.

The Offer [3] has attracted support from senior figures including Lord Heseltine – champion of the devolution agenda [4], and Defra Minister Lord de Mauley. It aims to draw on the unique strengths of the National Park Authorities to work in partnership with LEPs to:

  • Create more high quality jobs in some of the most remote rural areas
  • Make National Parks even better places to do business in through improved infrastructure like broadband and skills development
  • Use the National Parks’ superb landscapes to enhance people’s quality of life and attract new businesses.

Already, England’s National Parks are major power-houses for the rural economy.

  • They contain 22,500 businesses
  • They generate up to £6.3bn GVA, equivalent to that of the UK aerospace industry, or a small city such as Plymouth or Sunderland
  • The 90m visitors to National Parks and surrounding areas each year spend more than £4 billion and support 68,000 full time equivalent jobs. That’s a third of all rural tourism spend in the country.
  • The National Parks have a higher proportion of self-employed people than the country as a whole (19% compared to 10%).

Lord Heseltine, said: ‘National Parks are huge national assets that the public value. They are beautiful places where the environment underpins large swathes of the rural economy. I welcome the lead being taken by National Parks in working alongside Local Enterprise Partnerships and local businesses to enhance the nation’s wealth. Delivering high quality jobs, prosperity, and a high quality environment together is a Government priority. So I welcome this closer working to support our rural communities.’

Keith Mans, New Forest National Park Authority member and Enterprise M3 LEP board member, said: ‘We have been examining how we as a National Park Authority are open for business naturally and have been pleased to show the Environment Minister and Planning Minister our links to businesses and the particular challenges facing the New Forest during their visits last year. We look forward to seeing how working closely with the LEPs can benefit the Forest going forward.’

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister, Lord de Mauley added: ‘As well as offering stunning scenery, our National Parks support a wide range of businesses, contribute to the rural economy and are a home to thriving communities. This new initiative will help encourage further economic growth whilst ensuring our valued countryside remains protected.’

Kathy Slack, Director of Enterprise M3, welcomed this campaign by saying ’26 percent of our area is within one of two National Parks - New Forest and South Downs - and these areas are real assets for the economy. We support efforts to show that New Forest and South Downs National Parks are open for business.  We are already working on initiatives to support business including working on rural planning policies and working with the National Parks and other rural partners in shaping our future Rural European funding programme that will see almost £4.5m invested to support rural businesses within Enterprise M3.’


Notes to Editor:

  1. National Parks England 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.  For more information see: Web:   Twitter: @natparksengland
  2. There are 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).  They are business-led organisations, established to promote local economic growth and employment.  The first LEPs were set up in April 2011.  A map of all the LEPs is available at the LEP Network site -
  3. Copies of the National Parks England Offer to LEPs are available on request, or can be viewed at the National Parks England website section under publications:
  4. Lord Heseltine wrote a major report for Government - No Stones Unturned, in October 2012.  The report focused on how to generate growth, and stressed the importance of more local implementation.  He continues to be a senior advisor to the Government on these issues.  

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Paul Hamblin – Executive Director                                             
(w) 020 7072 7421       (m) 07968 760 854
National Parks England

Hilary Makin, Communications Manager, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646608

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