The Case for the National Park
Dorset and East Devon are very special. We have stunning countryside, a World Heritage coast, outstanding biodiversity and cultural heritage that is gold standard. We have many thriving businesses, including a growing digital economy. Our sun, sea, sand and land are at the heart of the South Coast, with rail accessibility from London and the Midlands. We are one of the nation’s favourite and most-photographed areas.
Our environment is our greatest economic asset. It underpins our prosperity and is likely to be increasingly important in the future. But our environment and biodiversity are under threat from multiple sources. Some agricultural practices reduce the diversity of our landscapes and wildlife while the quality of our rivers and of Poole Harbour continues to deteriorate and some resources are still overexploited. Our cultural heritage, including the landscape of Thomas Hardy, remains threatened. Current organisations have not, despite their efforts, been able to reverse this decline in our natural capital.
Our productivity, skill and wage levels are too low and there are too few affordable homes. Despite our great environment, we undersell ourselves and have not created a strong enough brand nor attracted the investment opportunities our environmental qualities merit.
A National Park could help make Dorset and East Devon the natural place to visit and do business. It offers a unique opportunity to help reverse the decline in our environment, make this the home for ambitious and innovative businesses and help our farmers and land managers to diversify and thrive in new market and farm funding conditions. Our economic prospects and future would be strengthened through a NP working in partnership with other local authorities such as the Dorset Council, with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Local Nature Partnership (LNP), the Jurassic Coast Trust and other key stakeholders to invest in our natural capital, environment, heritage and communities.
Together, we can establish a National Park that will promote, celebrate and protect our very special environment and heritage, work for and benefit our communities and economy, and help us all safeguard and pass on this fine heritage for the benefit of future generations and the nation.