2016-05-09   facebooktwitterrss

Businesses Urged to Boost National Parks

Businesses are being asked to team up with the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the UK’s 14 other national parks to ensure the unique areas survive.

A new organisation – the National Parks Partnerships (NPP) – has been set up to recruit companies to make the national parks better and to help more people to enjoy them in the future.

Great Fryup, Glaisdale Rigg beyond

Great Fryup, Glaisdale Rigg beyond
© Copyright Dave Stamp
and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The NPP is led by a Board of Directors comprising senior executives volunteering from the private sector and key commercial leaders from the national park authorities.

Board Chairman Steve Curl 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 for national parks and for the massive number of visitors from the UK and overseas, local communities and the environment.”

In an NPP survey on the future of the UK’s national parks, nearly half of the 2,000 people consulted said they were concerned that the special areas would deteriorate if funding levels reduced in coming years.

Just over two thirds strongly agreed that children needed to get active in the great outdoors and become real kids again, and that everyone should have the basic right to access nature in green spaces, fresh air and places like the national parks.

Steve said:
“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 well-being, conservation and other initiatives.

“We believe this will also bring substantial business benefits to partner companies – a real win-win.”

Peter Charlesworth, Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said:
“The financial and economic realities of today mean that there can, and should, be a much greater collaboration between business and national parks.

“Done properly, there is an opportunity to ensure that national parks can benefit from business expertise and funding, to ensure a bright future for these wonderful places.”

Current NPP 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 would not normally get the chance to have educational experiences in 'outdoor classrooms' in national 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 national parks

  • 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, in doing so, foster the economic and social development of local communities. Between them, they have 110 million visitors a year with an annual visitor spend of £5.5bn. Half the people in England live within one hours’ drive of a national park.

The survey was conducted across the UK in April.

Yorkshire dales

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