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Plans to protect England's national parks set out

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Windermere in the Lake District

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Plans to safeguard England’s national parks for future generations have been unveiled by the government.

The proposals also aim to improve access to nature and ensure landscapes are key to tackling climate change.

It follows a review of protections for national parks and Areas of Outstanding Beauty (AONBs).

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the plans – including a public consultation – were “a new chapter in the story of our protected landscapes”.

The consultation runs to 9 April and will ask for views on the proposals to drive nature recovery and support communities that live and work in those areas.

The proposals include creating management plans for those in charge of the national parks and AONBs, and encouraging local leaders across England to organise campaigns, events and volunteering projects to bring the public closer to nature.

The Landscapes Review looked at whether the existing protections were still fit for purpose.

The review’s author, Julian Glover, said: “It won’t be enough just to try to conserve what we have inherited – we can change the story from decline to recovery, to make them greener, more welcoming and full of hope.”

The pandemic has seen more people spending time outside but it has also highlighted inequalities surrounding access to green spaces – with people on low incomes being disadvantaged, according to the advisory body Natural England.

Increased access to nature is among the aims set out in the new plans.

Using landscapes in the fight against climate change are also central to the aims, along with protecting biodiversity and supporting people’s health and wellbeing for the next 70 years and beyond.

Mr Eustice said: “These reforms will play a pivotal role in meeting our international commitment to protect 30% of land for biodiversity by 2030.”

The government has also pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 as part of its 25-Year Environment Plan.

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Where are England’s 10 national parks?

Norfolk Broads

  • Lake District
  • Peak District
  • The Broads
  • North York Moors
  • South Downs National Park
  • Exmoor National Park
  • Dartmoor National Park
  • The New Forest
  • Northumberland National Park
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park

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