SDNPA welcomes government targets and calls for resources and powers to scale up delivery

The South Downs National Park Authority welcomes a clear direction of travel for Protected Landscapes following publication of new targets from Defra.  

As the National Parks celebrate their 75th Anniversary, the UK’s youngest National Park stands ready to continue to innovate and forge partnerships to deliver real action on the ground to deliver for nature, climate and people.

Tim Slaney, Interim Chief Executive of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of our glorious National Parks this year, we must once again summon the passion that coalesced around the simple but powerful idea all those years ago: We need access to nature and nature needs us.

“If we put the resources and powers needed behind this idea, we can harness the innovation and partnership working taking place across all of our Protected Landscapes and ensure our precious protected landscapes remain world-class havens for wildlife and people. The nation deserves nothing less.”

“We look forward to working with Defra and the wider Protected Landscapes family to unlock the funding and powers needed to further the South Downs National Park’s innovative and ambitious work for nature, climate and people.”

Jayne Butler, Executive Director of National Parks England, said  “The challenges that we face to restore nature and tackle climate change are enormous and so we must have ambition to match. Within National Parks we have that ambition and we see the role of National Park Authorities as key to achieving these targets. Yet, whilst the ambition grows, our resources to deliver on this are dropping – in the last 13 years National Park Authorities funding has seen real-terms cuts of around 40%. Targets like these centre National Parks and other Protected Landscapes in the vision to restore nature and tackle climate change and now we must be given greater financial resources to deliver this vision.”.

This renewed commitment from the National Park Authority comes following the publication of Defra’s “Protected Landscapes Targets and Outcomes Framework”, which includes a clear acknowledgement that protected landscapes are not only crucial to delivering on commitments to tackle climate change and restore nature, but that they also are vital to supporting the nation’s health and wellbeing through providing better access to green space.

Just one example of innovation at the South Downs National Park is its ambitious ReNature initiative to create 13,000 hectares or roughly 20,000 football pitches of new habitat for wildlife, tackle biodiversity loss and improve access to nature for all. The National Park Authority is engaged in pioneering work to develop news ways to deliver nature recovery. This includes its ground-breaking ReNature Credits, which is working in partnership with farmers and land managers on the ground, to unlock new streams of private finance that deliver multiples benefits for nature, climate and people.

Developers are able to acquire ReNature credits through the National Park’s brokerage service for phosphates, nitrates and Biodiversity Net Gain, which has attracted £282k to date.

By working together using private finance, we can both scale up and speed up nature recovery in a way that is good for nature, provides nature-based solutions to climate change and supports a thriving rural economy.

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