From Campaign for National Parks <[email protected]>
Subject Latest news from Campaign for National Parks
Date January 29, 2021 5:00 PM
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Launch of Park Protector Awards 2021, Dark Skies Festival and more

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Cover photo: Lake District National Park Authority

** Park Protector Awards 2021 - nominations now open!
Campaign for National Parks has teamed up with Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust ([link removed]) and Countryfile Magazine ([link removed]) for the Park Protector Awards 2021 ([link removed]) .

The awards recognise the efforts of staff and volunteers working in National Parks in England and Wales in what has been a very challenging year. This year’s theme is Innovation and Agility in the face of a Global Pandemic with a £1,000 first prize and 2 x runners-up prizes of £500 each.

For the first time, there will also be a People's Choice public vote for Volunteer of the Year. The winner will receive a 3-night stay in a holiday cottage in the Lake District, courtesy of Ramblers Worldwide Holidays.

Anyone can nominate a person, team or project for the work they’ve undertaken in a National Park in England or Wales in 2020/21. The deadline for nominations is Sunday 28 February 2021. Shortlisting, online voting and selection of the winners via a judging panel will take place in March 2021.

To find our more, or to make a nomination, please see our website ([link removed]) .

** Latest news from Westminster...

We recently f eatured in The House Magazine Countryside Special ([link removed]) alongside an interview with The Rt Hon George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It's the leading Parliamentary magazine which is distributed to MPs and policy makers. We're now following this up with MPs directly.

Our article focused on the key role that National Parks could, and should, p ([link removed]) lay in a Green Recovery ([link removed]) and called for the government to consider implementing some of the Glover Review ([link removed]) recommendations as part of the planning reforms. You can read the full article here ([link removed]) .

While we wait for the next steps on planning reforms, the Government continues to tinker with the current system. Their latest consultation proposed more additions to permitted development rights which allow for change of use or extensions to existing buildings without the need for planning permission.

Many existing rights do not apply in designated landscapes and the consultation proposes that should remain the case for a new change of use right, but not for rights relating to schools and hospitals - which could pave the way for large extensions. Our response ([link removed](Final)%20CNP%20response%20to%20PDR%20consultation%20(January%202021).pdf) focuses on making the case that none of these changes should apply in designated landscapes, due to the increased need for the careful planning of development in these areas.

We publish all of our submitted consultation responses on our website, see here ([link removed]) .

** 'Should cars be banned from National Parks?'

That was the eye-catching headline of a recent article in BBC Countryfile magazine ([link removed]) which examined some of the challenges facing National Parks as a result of the high visitor numbers in 2020.

It’s great to see so many people enjoying these special places and we certainly don’t want to see cars banned completely. But we do agree that there needs to be more focus on providing opportunities for people to visit in less environmentally damaging ways. We also want to see far more emphasis on ensuring that those who don’t have cars are able to visit in future, particularly as many of these people will have completely missed out on the benefits of National Parks during the pandemic.

Photo by North York Moors National Park Authority

Llwybr Newydd: a new Wales transport strategy

We highlighted these messages again in our response ([link removed](Final)%20CNP%20response%20to%20llwybr%20newydd%20(Wales%20Transport%20Strategy).pdf) this month to a consultation on Llwybr Newydd: a new Wales transport strategy ([link removed]) . Although this sets out an ambition to reduce car use among visitors to National Parks, there is a lack of specific measures to achieve this. We’ve suggested where these could be included as well as emphasising that National Park Authorities should have a role in delivering the strategy.

The Welsh Government’s transport strategy needs improvements, but the situation in England is even more disappointing. The Westminster Government’s recent call for evidence ([link removed]) * on rural transport does not even mention visitor travel, despite its growing importance for the rural economy as well as society and the environment.

We’re currently preparing our submission to this, drawing on evidence from our car-free travel report ([link removed]) , to highlight that National Parks are the perfect place to test innovative car-free solutions that meet the travel needs of both residents and visitors in rural areas.

*If you have experience of the difficulties caused by the lack of car-free access to National Parks or examples of potential solutions, you have until 16 Feb 2021 to submit your own evidence via an online survey ([link removed]) .

** Celebration of Dark Skies in our National Parks
Photo by Cain Scrimgeour in Northumberland National Park

We recently shared the news that both Yorkshire Dales National Park and North York Moors National Park achieved Dark Sky status ([link removed]) - joining an ever-growing family of National Park Dark Sky Reserves that includes Brecon Beacons, Exmoor, Lake District, Northumberland, Snowdonia and South Downs.

Next month (February 2021) sees a big celebration of this in the form of the Dark Skies Festival ([link removed]) - with events being held by National Parks across England, many of which have migrated online due to the current government restrictions. It coincides with CPRE's annual Star Count from 6 - 14 February, see here ([link removed]) for details.

** And finally...
It's not how we wanted to start the year, but due to the prevalence of Covid-19 we find ourselves bound by Government restrictions designed to slow the spread of the virus.

Sadly, for many of us that means we are currently unable to enjoy the National Parks that helped us through a very challenging 2020 in person. But that doesn't necessarily mean that we can't find other ways to get a nature boost.

The University of Derby's Nature Connectedness Research Group has created a host of resources to help you connect with nature wherever you are. Professor Miles Richardson has contributed a piece to our blog exploring this, and how nature helps. You can read it here ([link removed]) .
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