Headlines: December 11th, 2006



A report out today measures the economic impact of National Parks on their local economies. The report has been produced by the Council for National Parks to mark its 70th anniversary. It is based on findings from Yorkshire and Humber, which has a higher percentage of designated land than any other English region.
The Council says the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and Peak District National Parks are well-known as places to visit but it wanted to see if they also brought economic benefits to those living within their boundaries and in other parts of the region and it concludes that businesses in the three parks and in nearby towns benefit greatly, both from the quality of the environment and from National Park designation. The research shows that the Park Authorities and other organisations attract people and businesses, all of which go on to make big contributions to the regional economy.

Main findings from the research show that more than two thirds of businesses in the parks believe landscape quality has a positive impact on their performance and that more than 25 per cent believe a deterioration would seriously affect their business. More than half of businesses feel that National Park designation itself has a positive impact and sales by businesses in the parks are estimated to be worth 1.8 billion pounds a year, supporting more than 34,000 jobs, giving a gross Value added figure of 576 million pounds.

The study puts spending by visitors to the National Parks at an estimated 400 million a year within the parks and a further 260 million pounds in other parts of the region. That spending is reckoned to support another 12,000 jobs and the report says that knock on effects mean the total impact on the region’s output is likely to be almost a billion pounds.

The Council for National Parks says the key message from the report is that National Parks help businesses to prosper, locally and regionally and that this is a direct result of the purposes for which the Parks were designated – the conservation and improvement of their natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage and the promotion of opportunities for people to understand and enjoy their special qualities.