New agreement helps National Parks stay safe and beautiful

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Published Monday 6 June 2016

The New Forest and England's other National Parks stand to benefit from improved emergency service communications.

The improvements will happen in ways that respect their very sensitive environment, following a landmark agreement between National Parks England and the Home Office.     

The Joint Accord [1] was brokered between National Parks England [2] and the Home Office [3] and aims to:

  • Support the roll-out of the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme [4] in National Parks so that users, visitors and residents can benefit from enhanced responsiveness by the blue-light services;
  • Protect the special qualities of the National Parks by minimising any adverse environmental impacts; and
  • Support close working between the Home Office and its contractors and National Park Authorities to achieve these aims.

With English National Parks covering almost 10% of the country, the new agreement is an important step forward in making sure our rural communities have responsive emergency services.

Jim Bailey, Chair of National Parks England and the North York Moors National Park Authority said: 'National Parks have always been about finding pragmatic long term solutions to the many competing demands on land. Ensuring modern telecommunications infrastructure is no different. The stunning landscapes and towns are the lifeblood for our rural economies.  And we are delighted that the Home Office is committed to working with National Parks to protect them. This is a welcome sign that we hope will be replicated by other Government departments.'

Mike Penning, Minister for Policing, Fire and Criminal Justice and Victims, said: 'I am pleased to have signed this Joint Accord with National Parks England which will help deliver the emergency services’ new communications network. This new critical national infrastructure will be sympathetic to the character of national parks in England. It will enable the three emergency services to operate enhanced services inside national parks using modern 4G voice and fast data service communications.'

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Notes to Photo Editors  

Photographs of Minister of State for Policing, Fire, Criminal Justice and Victims Rt. Hon Mike Penning MP and the Chair of National Parks England, Jim Bailey, signing the Accord are available on request.


1. Copies of the National Parks England and Home Office Joint Accord are available on request, or can be viewed at the National Parks England website section on publications and documents.

2. 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

3. The Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme is a cross-departmental initiative led by the Home Office. It is the largest, most complex programme in the Home Office at present. The programme will enable future levels of government spending on emergency services mobile communications to be reduced by up to £1 million a day.

4. The Programme will be completed by late 2019 and is responsible for developing and implementing the replacement to the current Airwave service.  This new service, the Emergency Services Network (ESN) will operate across England, Scotland and Wales and will be used by the police, fire and rescue services, ambulance trusts and other public safety and security organisations.

Contacts for further information:

Paul Hamblin – Executive Director
020 7072 7421 / 07968 760 854
National Parks England

Kim Grade - Press Officer
020 7035 5043
Home Office 

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