England’s national parks fail to fight climate & nature crisis - Friends of the Earth

Overall woodland cover across all national parks in England is less than 15%

Friends of the Earth today (2nd October) launches a report, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, revealing that England’s national parks are failing to step up to the climate and nature crisis .

England’s national parks were once filled with temperate rainforests and wild woods. Today the overall woodland cover across all national parks in England is less than 15%. Friends of the Earth analysis has found that this could be more than doubled to 34%, without damaging other important habitats such as peatbogs.

Some of our most famous national parks have lower woodland cover than major cities:

Friends of the Earth’s survey of National Park Authority reveals that very little woodland has been created over the past five years. Six out of the ten English national parks do not record this data – an oversight that Friends of the Earth is calling to be changed.

In addition to woodland failures, data obtained from Natural England by Friends of the Earth revealed that only 26% of protected habitat within national parks (such as peatlands) is in a healthy state. This is far less than England as a whole, where 39% of protected habitat is in a healthy state. When peatlands such as blanket bog are in good condition, they act as carbon sinks and help fight the climate crisis.

Friends of the Earth trees campaigner, Danny Gross, said: “England’s national parks have not risen to the challenge of the climate and nature crisis. This isn’t even listed in their core purposes set out by the government. National parks cover roughly a tenth of England’s land and offer enormous opportunities for natural climate solutions, such as woodland creation and peatland restoration, which would also go a long way to support new wildlife. We have a chance to make England’s national parks trailblazers for natural climate solutions such as woodland and other precious habitats. It’s time for National Park Authorities, the government and landowners to step up and work together to fight the climate crisis.”

Posted on: 05 October 2020

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