We welcome the 8-Point Plan for England’s National Parks published by the Government on 23 March 2016.
The Plan sets out the Government’s ambition to put National Parks at the heart of how we think about the environment and rural economy in the future.
The Plan sees National Parks as:
Inspiring natural environments, which connect young people with nature
Thriving natural environments, which showcase the benefits of designated landscapes
Drivers of the rural economy, which generate income for local businesses, and support local communities, skills and employment
Landscapes and heritage which promote recreation, health and wellbeing, and encourage involvement and volunteering.
The Government’s Plan reflects our aims for the Dorset & East Devon National Park to promote a strong and sustainable local economy, thriving communities, and a healthy natural environment.
We look forward to Dorset and East Devon having the advantages and opportunities which other National Park areas already enjoy.
Based on evidence from the South Downs National Park, we estimate that the Dorset & East Devon National Park would bring additional funding of around £10m pa from central government, and further funding from other sources. Working fully in partnership with local people – communities, businesses, farmers, landowners, local authorities, voluntary organisations – and the Local Enterprise Partnership, the National Park Authority would invest and spend resources to benefit the local economy.
In addition to the direct economic benefits of National Park funding, wide-ranging economic opportunities would be available to businesses and communities within and around the National Park.
The area’s fine natural environment is its greatest economic asset. A recent report for Dorset County Council confirms this. A Dorset & East Devon National Park would help the area to make the most of its natural assets.
We look forward to working with Dorset & East Devon stakeholders, including Local Authorities and communities, and with Natural England and the Government, to make these ambitions a reality.
We ask Dorset councils to ensure that a National Park is included in Dorset’s bid for local government re-organisation and devolution in early 2017.