National Parks England’s role includes:
- Providing a collective voice for the views of the nine English National Park Authorities (NPAs) and the Broads Authority.
- Raising the profile of the work of the authorities to policy makers, Parliamentarians and other decision makers
- Facilitating discussion amongst NPAs on issues of common concern
- Supporting the development and capacity of the NPAs to effect change
- Working in partnership with other bodies where this adds value
National Parks England was formed on 1 April 2006 and is a not for profit company limited by guarantee. It is governed by the Chairs of the ten authorities.
National Parks England has a small office base in London, employs 2.5 FTE staff and benefits from the expertise of the staff and members in the ten Authorities.
National Park Purposes
England has nine National Parks which have been designated under National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. In addition, the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads were designated under the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988, have equivalent status in law to a National Park and are managed by the Broads Authority.
National Parks have two purposes, to:
- conserve and enhance their natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage; and
- promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the public.
The NPAs also have a duty to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the National Park. They have a range of other duties placed on them by other legislation.
National Parks – rural communities and economies making a national contribution
England’s ten National Parks are living, working landscapes notable for their natural beauty and cultural heritage. These rural areas are visited by millions of people every year and are home to strong communities who care passionately for the places in which they live and work.
Making a contribution locally and nationally England’s National Parks cover more than 1.2 million hectares (9.7% of England’s land area) and 321,000 people live in them (0.6% of England’s population). There are 22,500 businesses of all sizes and from all sectors of the economy located in England’s National Parks, providing around 141,000 jobs. Our National Parks generate around £6 billion of Gross Value Added (GVA) a year. This is comparable to a city such as Plymouth or Sunderland.
National Park Authorities (NPAs) aim to maintain thriving, living landscapes, where natural assets are conserved and enhanced and where businesses and communities can prosper, now and in the future.
The economies of our National Parks, like many rural areas, are reliant on tourism, agriculture and other land based activities. These activities depend on the high quality environment of National Parks and in turn can help maintain and enhance the special qualities of National Parks.
Though not primary service providers in most cases, National Park Authorities work with communities, business and a wide range of organisation to address the challenges facing rural areas including: providing services to dispersed populations; connectivity to mobile communications and broadband services; aging populations; housing affordability; and access to services and transport.
We also work to highlight the value of our National Parks to society as a whole. The interdependency between the deep rural areas, represented by National Parks, and the wider countryside and urban areas is exemplified by the reliance of urban communities on the ecosystems services provided by these special places and the contribution to rural economies made by the spending of urban residents on tourism, food and other products or services drawn from the countryside.