I NEWS reports England’s national parks have collectively announced a ten-year drive to make the land work better for nature and the public by improving health and wellbeing and inspiring a deeper connection with the environment. Under the plans, the parks will work with doctors to provide nature prescriptions such as “health walks” for people with mental health issues. And they will work with the Youth Hostel Association to offer trips to people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Telegraph reports conservation groups have argued that although 26 per cent of England is technically ‘protected for nature’, these areas are not sufficiently biodiverse and actually contain less trees and nature than some of our cities. The five-year plan for Natural England promises to make our national parks “richer in wildlife”, and sources at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have suggested this includes radically changing the landscape of our most iconic national parks.
The Guardian reports National Parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty have not done enough to protect nature or welcome diverse visitors, and extra government funding must help drive radical change, according to a review.
The independent review, commissioned by the former environment secretary Michael Gove, praises the work of England’s 44 “national landscapes”, including the Lake District and Dartmoor, but calls for a new focus to stop declines in nature and welcome working-class and black and minority ethnic visitors.
The BBC reports every schoolchild in England should get the opportunity to “spend a night under the stars” in an idyllic landscape, an independent review has suggested. Helping pupils connect with nature through visits would ensure protected areas such as national parks are “open to everyone”, the review’s author said.