New polling shows that people want restoring wildlife to be the priority for England's National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty - RSPB

People see nature restoration as the number one priority for England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) according to new polling commissioned by the RSPB.

The results are presented in a report published today called “Natural Parks?”. A survey of adults in England found that more than two thirds (68%) of respondents chose increasing wildlife as their top priority for National Parks and AONBs, far more than other objectives such as promoting cultural heritage. People who live inside National Parks and AONBs feel even more strongly. Three quarters (75%) of them chose increasing wildlife as their number one priority.

There are 44 protected landscapes – National Parks and AONBs – in England, such as the Peak and Lake Districts, the New Forest and the Isle of Wight. They cover a quarter of the country, but account for a much greater proportion of the places that are important habitats for wildlife and for storing carbon.

Alice Hardiman, head of policy for RSPB England said “The polling shows the huge public demand for restoring nature in England’s National Parks and AONBs. This is what people from across England want these landscapes to prioritise above all else. The people who live inside these places want this even more. This sends a clear message to the Government as it consults on the future of our National Parks and AONBs.”

The RSPB, working with the water company United Utilities, is showing how nature can be revived in Wild Haweswater in the Lake District National Park, while respecting farming traditions. From red squirrels to salmon, pied flycatchers and rare lichens, nature is returning to this rugged landscape. This shows what is possible, but it is in sharp contrast with much of the rest of the National Park. Wildlife has been pushed to the margins of the Park, or – like England’s last pair of Golden Eagles – lost altogether, unable to survive amongst a sea of intensive land management.

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Posted On: 24/03/2022

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