10% core rewilding areas
in national parks will help us lead the way to a wilder Britain
Despite some superb conservation initiatives, our national parks are nature-depleted and ecological shadows of what they could be – with decades old laws hobbling their ability to lead the way in tackling the extinction crisis and climate emergency.
We’re 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 set the pace and lead the way in turning the page on nature-depleted Britain.
Sign our petition - demand wilder National Parks
Why do we need wilder national parks?
- None of our national parks are wild enough to withstand the shocks of the nature and climate crises.
- Laws dating as far back as 1949 are hampering National Park Authorities’ ability to upscale efforts to protect nature.
- Without action on this issue, the Prime Minister’s pledge to protect 30% of Britain for nature by 2030 isn’t credible.
- 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.
Do we want this?
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 can help us.…
Reduce flooding and improve water quality
Absorb carbon and help fight the climate crisis
Allow people to reconnect with nature-rich, wild places.
Ensure habitats for declining plants, birds, mammals and insects. Our research shows a fifth of Britain’s species could be saved from decline or extinction by increasing the scale, quality and connectedness of habitats nationwide.
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.
Rewilding our national parks is already under way
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
You may also be interested in reading
PM’s pledge to protect 30% of Britain for nature not credible without action
On the 70th anniversary of our national parks we celebrate and reflect on their role in restoring and nurturing nature