Sign our petition - demand wilder National Parks
Despite some superb conservation initiatives, our national parks are nature-depleted and ecological shadows of what they could be. We want to see them teeming with wildlife, where healthy ecosystems help absorb carbon and control flooding, and local people thrive.
Join us in calling on the UK Government and devolved administrations to make Britain’s national parks wilder — including 10% core rewilding areas – so that these precious places can play a vital role in tackling the extinction crisis and climate emergency.
Why do we need wilder national parks?
- Nature is badly depleted in our national parks. In England’s national parks, three-quarters of Sites of Special Scientific Interest are in a poor condition and often in a worse state than elsewhere.
- There’s less woodland cover in the Yorkshire Dales than London, less in the Peak District than Leeds, and less in the Lake District than Sheffield.
- The UK has been ranked 189th out of 218 countries for its quality of nature.
- 56% of our species are in decline and 15% threatened with extinction.
- All this would be far worse without our national parks. But we’re being outpaced by the nature and climate crises.
Spot the difference
Can you spot all the differences between these two uplands scenes — on a typical degraded landscape today, and another where nature has healed? Watch our full animation to see the transformation of an ecologically degraded part of Britain’s uplands…
Wilder national parks can help us.…
Ensure habitats for declining plants, birds, mammals and insects.
Reduce flooding and improve water quality
Absorb carbon and help fight the climate crisis
Allow people to reconnect with nature-rich, wild places.
Offer new opportunities for communities and local economies (e.g. nature-friendly farming, forestry, eco-tourism, recreation). Our studies show rewilding can bring new opportunities, including jobs and volunteering opportunities, and that nature recovery on marginal land can work well alongside generating income from food production and livestock.
Lead the way to a wilder Britain by inspiring rewilding and nature recovery nationwide.
Wilder national parks will be popular
So what can we do?
We need wilder national parks that can lead the way for a healthier, more nature-rich Britain, with opportunities for communities and local economies – and the UK Government and devolved administrations can and should take action.
The Prime Minister’s pledge to protect 30% of Britain’s land and sea for nature by 2030 is not credible without ensuring wilder national parks.
First established 70 years ago, national parks comprise some of the most remote swathes of Britain and some of our most cherished landscapes. Yet whilst national parks have largely protected these landscapes from built development, they’re not delivering for nature and biodiversity and could be much wilder.
By mapping national park land ownership, we’ve found that public bodies and water firms own 738,000 acres or 13% of the total 5.7m acres covered by Britain’s 15 national parks. This means the Government can create core rewilding areas across 10% of the parks regardless of action by private landowners.
Wilder national parks are possible
We’re calling on the UK Government and devolved administrations to:
Create core rewilding areas on public land across 10% of the national parks.
Ensure another 50% of the parks become nature recovery areas – with a mix of habitats, wildlife corridors and land uses, and Government financial support for nature-friendly agriculture.
Modernise legislation to empower the parks to upscale their efforts for nature’s recovery.
Lead the way to a wilder Britain
Donate to this campaign
You may also be interested in reading
We’ve summarized the top five things you need to know from our Wilder National Parks event. Digest the news and use our handy links to jump to the parts of the talk that most interest you
PM’s pledge to protect 30% of Britain for nature not credible without action
We imagine the rewilding of some of the uplands in Britain
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Phoebe Cox argues that the UK will only achieve large-scale restoration of ecosystems and thriving local economies if we commit to rewilding our national parks.
We celebrate some of the projects and parks who are setting a blueprint for others to follow.
On the 70th anniversary of our national parks we reflect on their role in restoring and nurturing nature