Today (07 December 2022), as COP15 gets underway, the Chairs of National Parks in England have set out in a letter to The Times the impact of funding cuts on the fight for climate and nature:
NATIONAL PARKS CUTS
Sir, National parks cover almost 10 per cent of England and attract more than 80 million visitors annually. These landscapes are not just beacons for conservation but are fundamental to supporting our health, education and wellbeing. With Cop15 in mind (the 15th conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity), where better to showcase innovation, inspire behavioural change and chart the route to net zero with nature than national parks? Properly supported, we can expand our flagship climate change projects, such as peatland restoration and tree planting, to show that nature-based solutions and developing resilience to climate change go hand in hand.
At an overall cost of 80 pence per person each year, England’s national parks offer tremendous value for money. However, over the next three years we face a real-terms reduction in our government grant of £15.7 million. Service cuts and a downsizing of operations are already a reality. Without significant additional government resources we simply cannot fulfil our potential.
Andrew McCloy, Chair of National Parks England and Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority
Jim Bailey, Chair, North York Moors National Park Authority
Jean Davidson, Chair, Northumberland National Park Authority
Neil Heseltine, Chair, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
Tiffany Hunt, Chair, Lake District National Park Authority
Robin Milton, Chair, Exmoor National Park Authority
Gavin Parker, Chair, New Forest National Park Authority
Vanessa Rowlands, Chair, South Downs National Park Authority
Pamela Woods, Chair, Dartmoor National Park Authority