Calls to Implement National Park in Dorset
There have been calls to implement a National Park in Dorset as research revealed there has been a surge in appreciation for green spaces in South West England during the lockdown.
A poll was commission by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the countryside charity, and the National Federation of Women's Institutes (WI) to investigate community spirit during the strictest social distancing measures ever experienced.
The results show that 60% of people surveyed in the South West believe that people are doing more to help their communities, and 65% of people feel that protecting local green spaces should be a higher priority for the government when lockdown ends.
Peter Bowyer, Chair of Trustees of Dorset CPRE, said: "The current context is calling out for clear national and local leadership in respect of the countryside. We all have opportunities to develop and demonstrate leadership.
"There is a particular opening now for CPRE to engage with young people. Young people have shown their concerns and interests in the environment and the countryside in many ways. "Dorset CPRE calls on the government to implement its manifesto commitment to create new National Parks and make a Dorset National Park a key part of the nation’s recovery plan. "The Glover Review of Landscapes recommends new National Parks and recognises Dorset’s outstanding case. A National Park would play a vital role in ensuring a thriving, sustainable future for our communities, including young people and families, our economy and environment, Dorset-wide."
The survey also revealed that 58% of people living in the South West said that the lockdown has made them more aware of the importance of local green spaces for their mental health and wellbeing with 29% of people reporting visiting green spaces more since the start of the lockdown.
The poll also revealed that, despite the social distancing rules in place, 42% feel more connected to their community.
Lynne Stubbings, Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, said: “Throughout this crisis, green spaces have also been a lifeline to people dealing with the impact of lockdown. "So many of us have discovered pockets of green right on our doorsteps – a chance to get out in the fresh air, exercise, and support our mental wellbeing, which has been an oasis in difficult times.
"Yet too many of these places are threatened - by pollution, litter or the impacts of climate change.
"As we look to rebuild after the crisis, we must make sure that we continue to cherish our communities and this new sense of connectedness – both to each other and to our local environment.”