National Parks like Derbyshire’s Peak District need stronger protection and a fairer share of funding to protect them for future generations, according to a leading campaign group.
The Campaign for National Parks is seeking to spark a debate in advance of next year’s election campaign with its own manifesto.
It says national parks are the jewels in the crown of the country’s landscapes and are essential to the nation’s health and wellbeing, as well as being an important part of our cultural heritage.
The manifesto – the first of its kind produced by CNP - says that parks such as the Peak District must be protected for the good of everyone.
Andy Tickle, director of Friends of the Peak District, said the Peak Park faced a range of development, investment and transport issues.
“We are currently facing serious threats to the national park from damaging road schemes that will do little for the local or regional economy,” he said.
“What we really need is serious investment in improved rail links as is being suggested. Local Enterprise Partnerships need to realise that national parks are a precious asset for regional economies,” he added.
CNP chief executive Julian Woolford said: “National parks face an unprecedented level of threats due to the increasing demand for land for housing, transport and other infrastructure.
“We are currently facing the biggest road programme for decades. The Government has also failed to take account of the extra protection for national parks in proposals to remove the need for planning permission when converting light industrial buildings to housing development.”
The manifesto calls for improved public transport links and better facilities for walkers and cyclists.