The charity for National Parks has welcomed a proposal to increase the number of National Park rangers fourfold. The idea was announced by Julian Glover on 28 August’s Today Programme on BBC Radio 4.
Mr Glover is leading a review of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which was commissioned by the former Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, and which is due to be published this autumn.
According to the proposals, the 1000 rangers would be administered by a new National Ranger Service. The details are still emerging, but a core function of the rangers would be to go out and inspire minority or marginalised communities to use the National Parks, to welcome visitors and tell them about the local landscape, wildlife and history.
Campaign for National Parks, the charity which was first established in 1936 to lead the fight to establish the National Parks, has welcomed the proposals. It has campaigned for measures to improve access to the Parks and led the Mosaic Project for 10 years, which successfully introduced communities to the National Parks in England and Wales.
Corinne Pluchino, chief executive of Campaign for National Parks said: “We stand at an incredibly important point in history for the National Parks. The National Parks have achieved a great deal since they were first established 70 years ago, but it’s a matter of urgency that we revitalise their vision and ambitions.
“The challenges of climate change, the collapse of wildlife and a lack of diversity in the visitors enjoying the Parks means we need a re-think at a national level. It’s fantastic to see new ideas that could capture the imagination and drive forward diverse, thriving landscapes with visitors from all sorts of backgrounds. In our submission to the review we specifically cited the importance of National Park rangers in reaching out to underrepresented communities so we are delighted to see the Glover review take this on board.”
Campaign for National Parks has been leading calls for changes in the National Parks including a new way of going about nature conservation, increasing protection for their unique landscapes, and improving sustainable access into the Parks so every part of society can enjoy them.
“The forebears of Campaign for National Parks knew how important it was for the nation that these special places were protected. That places such as the Lake District, Dartmoor and the Peak District could provide beauty, clean air and tranquillity to everyone, and not just the select few. We welcome the review’s early analysis and hope the final report will be bold and ambitious,” continued Corinne.