National Parks and the UK Government
The national parks of the United Kingdom are loosely joined local authorities to administer their boundaries with local counties and councils. This contrasts with the United States National Park Service, where all of the national parks are run by the federal agency.
The government administrator of the National Parks is the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, currently Elizabeth Truss, Conservative MP for South West Norfolk.
- Elizabeth Truss, MP on parliament.uk
- Elizabeth Truss, MP on gov.uk
- Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs
Key Figures in the Creation of the National Parks of the UK
- Dr. Chris Addison, MP, MD (Labour MP)
Dr. Addison led the first Parliamentary committee to discuss the creation national parks in England and Wales after the creation of such entities in other countries. Viscount Addison's committee had many things to say about the creation of a national park system in Britain, some of those being the country is too small, there isn't a diverse array of fauna, much of the land is already developed, This committee did state that since there isn't much land, and that what is there is already privately owned, conservation should happen immediately.
- William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth was a poet who wrote much about the beauty of English countryside and the landscapes that were involved. Wordsworth was involved in the romanticising of nature like Muir and Thoreau, but in England.
- Charles Bathhurst, MP (Conservative Party)
Lord Bledisloe (as he was later known) was from the countryside and worked to preserve the beauty he found there in the landscapes. He served as an MP in the house of commons, and as president of the Country Landowners' Association. As an MP he served as Minister of Agriculture, and owned large swaths of land devoted to progressive agriculture. Proposed in 1928 that the Forest of Dean should become a National Park along the lines of the "New World" national parks.
Legislation Creating and Revising the National Parks of the UK
- Report of the National Park Committee
While not an act of parliament, this is the report of Viscount Addisson's committee on national parks.
- National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
This is the law that originally created and outlined the National Parks in England and Wales. This law created the first ten national parks in England and Wales.
- Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988
This act created the eleventh national park, The Broads, the eastern most national park.
- Environmental Protection Act 1990
This act created a new authority which oversaw the national parks.
- Environment Act 1995
This act made the national parks more autonomous in operations by creating their own authority, on the same basic level as a council.
- Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000
This act creates the formal designation Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and clears up earlier laws regarding trespassing and the English and Welsh countryside. The national park authorities have some domain over the areas of outstanding natural beauty.
- National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000
This act establishes the Scottish government authority for national parks.
- Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003
This act performs the same basic function for Scotland as the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 did for England and Wales.
- Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006
This act reforms parts of the English government to merge several departments into a new department called Natural England, which oversees the national parks.
Conservation StrategyUnlike in the American system of National Parks, and the four other Anglosphere countries, the National Parks are not corralled areas that are off limits to developement, they include towns that have existed for hundreds of years. In fact, most of the land in the national parks is privately owned, about 75% of it, and the public ownership is by entities that do not have much power. The national park administrations work to preserve the landscapes of the areas bounded, but they are also involved in the economic delevelopment of the areas. National parks in Britain do not aim to preserve landscapes without human ruination, people have lived on the tiny island for millenia, and so what untouched by their influence has absolutely no meaning. Their aim instead is to preserve natural landscapes and to manage their lands in a fashion that helps promote economic development, and preserves the landscapes British beauty. Another aim is to provide a refuge for the tired urbanite to escape and enjoy recreation and leisure away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
There is an exception for Scotland though. Scotland contrasts from England and Wales in terms of population density, and as such, the preservation of land as is in the country is more strong. After millenia, humans still have not totally settled the craggy landscape, as it can be too wet and too cold.