National parks give an important boost to rural economies

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A new report published this week recognises the importance of national parks, not only for their iconic beauty, but also the boost they provide for rural economies.

The report, published by National Parks England on Wednesday, May 22, states that English national parks contribute between £4.1-£6.3bn into the UK economy every year – which is equivalent to the UK aerospace industry .

Jim Dixon, chief executive of the Peak District National Park Authority said: “We recognise that the value of a national park depends on its people – the farmers, businesses and residents who look after it.

“We cherish their commitment to the Peak District, and support them through our advisory services, practical help to access funding and the Environmental Quality Mark certification scheme.”

The report gives case studies showing how National Park Authorities support rural businesses, communities and economies while ensuring the areas remain beautiful places where people want to live, work and visit with rich cultural and ecological assets.

John Dyke, Chair of National Parks England, said the report demonstrates the “great value” of National Parks to the economy and the role of authorities in supporting rural communities and businesses.

Other headline messages from the report include: more than 50 per cent of people in England live within an hour’s travel of a National Park; there are around 22,500 businesses in the National Parks with a combined turnover of £10.4bn employing 140,000 people; more than 90 million people visit the English National Parks each year; visitors to the English National Parks spend at least £4bn, contributing about one third of the spend from rural tourism in England.