England is set to welcome a new national park as part of a government initiative aimed at bolstering countryside accessibility and safeguarding its natural treasures. Potential sites, including the Chilterns, the Cotswolds, and Dorset, are under consideration by Natural England. However, the announcement prompted cautious optimism among environmentalists due to a decline in real-term funding for national parks, resulting in service and staff reductions. Julian Glover, author of the Landscapes Review advocating for three new national parks in the aforementioned regions, expressed delight at tangible progress and increased funding aimed at enhancing these spaces for both people and nature.
Highlighting the significance of these areas, Julian Glover stressed the urgent need for heightened support to ensure their vitality in supporting the nation. Meanwhile, Dr. Rose O'Neill, Campaign for National Parks' chief executive, pointed out the 40% real-term funding cut since 2010, affecting existing parks and causing financial strain. Despite welcoming the new investment, she cautioned about the potential for future crises, as parks nationwide cope with reduced government grants, leading to staffing and service cuts.
Establishing a new national park aligns with a Conservative manifesto commitment and coincides with the forthcoming 75th anniversary of the act of Parliament enabling their creation. Notably, the most recent addition to England's national parks was the South Downs in 2010.