British public support corporate involvement in National Parks as concern grows over future sustainability

Longslade. Credit Barry Whitcher

Published Monday 9 May 2016

Nearly half of people surveyed on the future of the UK’s National Parks are concerned they will deteriorate due to lack of funding in coming years.

Meanwhile 85 per cent say that their perception of a large company would improve if it provided them with support, according to a survey by the National Parks Partnerships.

Launched today, the National Parks Partnerships has been created to enable businesses to readily engage with the New Forest and all 14 other UK National Parks to improve significantly the quality and utility of the Parks now and for future generations. The Partnership is led by a Board of Directors of senior executives volunteering from the private sector and key commercial leaders from UK Parks.

Steve Curl, Chair of the Board and spokesperson for the National Parks Partnership, said: 'Government and the general public provide important support to the National Parks but we need additional commitments to make sure that they are not only sustained but enhanced for future generations. Partnership with responsible businesses - without commercialisation - can deliver the support needed to secure benefits from Parks for the massive number of visitors from the UK and overseas, local communities and the environment.'

In the survey of 2,000 people across the UK, 67 per cent strongly agreed that children need to get active in the great outdoors and nature and become real kids again and 68 per cent strongly agreed that everyone should have the basic right to access nature in green spaces, fresh air and places like the National Parks.

Curl added: 'At a time when children are being encouraged to play more outdoors and we all recognise the importance of being active, companies can facilitate engagement from their own employees and all sections of the public through health and wellbeing, conservation and other initiatives. We believe this will also bring substantial business benefits to partner companies – a real win-win.'

Current plans for major partnerships include an 'Active Parks Partner' to jointly promote health and wellbeing activities within the National Parks; a 'Parks Discovery Partner' to help provide for children who wouldn't normally get the chance to have educational experiences in 'outdoor classrooms' in Parks; an official outdoor clothing supplier to the UK’s 255 National Park Rangers; a national funder for the 'Miles without Stiles' programme that creates and maintains accessible paths throughout the Parks; and opportunities to collaborate on environmental initiatives including sustainable transport, water and carbon management.

The mission of the UK National Parks is to conserve their natural beauty, promote public understanding and enjoyment, and foster economic and social development of local communities. The National Parks have 110 million visitors each year with an annual visitor spend of £5.5bn. 50 per cent of people in England live within one hours’ drive of a National Park.

The survey of 2,000 people was conducted across the UK in April 2016. For more information visit www.nationalparks.co.uk.

-ends-

Notes to Editor:

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 www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Naomi Conway, National Parks Partnerships, 07950 392979

Alex Clelland/Bertie Berger, Hudson Sandler, 020 7796 4133          

www.nationalparks.co.uk

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