Search underway for location of NEW National Park for England with Chilterns, Costwolds and Dorset all being considered for 11th designation
- Environment secretary Steve Barclay presented National England with the task
- Government is keen for more people to get out into the country’s green areas
- Last year, each person spent ten hours or less in nature than in 2020
A government search is underway to locate a space for a new national park in England to increase the amount of time people spend in nature.
Areas of outstanding national beauty (AONB) in the Chilterns, Cotswolds and combined areas of Dorest and east Devon are among those being considered by officials at National England.
The decision on a new national park is expected to be made quickly and will become this country’s 11th official park, joining such public spaces as Dartmoor and the Peak District. However, designation could take years and the park will not be established before the general election.
Environment secretary Steve Barclay has presented National England with the task, as part of the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto promise to deliver new national parks.
The Government is keen for more people to get out into the country’s green areas, after recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the time people are spending in the natural world has fallen since the pandemic.
View from the Purbeck Hills near Church Knowle over rural pastures towards the coast and cliffs of the Jurassic Coast
Downham Hill from Uley Bury. The Cotswolds. Gloucestershire, is hoping to become England’s 11th national park
Country lane in chiltern hills at dawn, one of the spaces being being considered by officials at National England
Last year, each person spent an average of ten hours or less in nature than they did in 2020.
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National Parks are areas of relatively undeveloped and scenic landscape across the country, where planning controls are a little more restrictive than elsewhere.
The last one created was the chalk grasslands of the South Downs in 2010.
In 2022, at the UN biodiversity summit in Montreal, the government set a target to increase protected areas to 30% of the land, which is likely to be boosted by the announcement of a new park.
The Cop28 climate summit starts in Dubai tomorrow and nature is one of the UK delegation’s top five priorities.
Alongside the news of a search for a new national park, it was announced that £750,000 would be made available to protect England’s tiny expanses of lichen and fungi-filled rainforest in Cornwall, Devon and Cumbria.
The importance of the natural world to the British public was exemplified in September by the extensive condemnation towards the felling of the 50ft Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland.
Rishi Sunak said: ‘I shared in the nation’s profound sense of anger in response to what happened at the Sycamore Gap earlier this year, but the public’s outrage fundamentally demonstrated just how much love the British People have for the natural world.’
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