Posted on: March 13th, 2015
On Sunday 15 March I appear on BBC One Countryfile. Tom Heap (pictured with me left) explores the future funding of national parks.
Here is the outline of my plan:
Firstly, Defra should put a stop to indiscriminate, deep and harmful cuts and instead it should put together a long-term plan to help the national parks fund themselves sustainably for the future.
Secondly, the parks should be given the freedom and the investment to help them grow great leisure businesses serving the visiting public.
Thirdly, there are diverse sources of funds available to canny and business-like park managers – health funding, national citizen service, heritage lottery and EU LIFE nature funds.
Finally, protected landscapes are great places close to the nation’s heart and more people, business and trusts should be able to support parks directly, through a major nation-wide national park charity.
Greater long-term financial security would focus the leadership of parks away from the largely sterile task of trench-warfare with Defra over annual grants and focus them where the job is – enthusing people about parks and thinking long-term about their management.
I've also written about national park funding in my Times column (left) and in the Campaign for National Park's magazine Viewpoint. www.cnp.org.uk