Broads Authority welcomes government eight-point action plan to preserve national parks for future generations

Aerial view of Acle, which could become the heart of the Broads if architect Micheal Innes' plans co

Aerial view of Acle, which could become the heart of the Broads if architect Micheal Innes' plans come to fuition. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Archant

The authority which manages the region's Broads has welcomed a government action plan to safeguard them for future generations.

Liz Truss. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Liz Truss. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

The Broads Authority today praised the eight-point scheme, which applies to National Parks around the country and outlines their direction up to 2020.

While the Broads do not have the legal status of a National Park, they are considered part of the so-called National Park family and, after a Broads Authority decision last January, brands itself as such.

Jacquie Burgess, chairman of the authority, said: 'We very much welcome this plan with its strong focus on promoting the public's understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Broads. It is indicative of how much importance the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ministers place on the value of national parks and the work of the authorities in looking after them.'

As part of the plan, tens of thousands of schoolchildren will be given the chance to visit the parks.

Just 10pc of children currently have access to outdoor learning, a situation ministers hope to change as part of the new plan for national parks, which aims to bring more than 80,000 youngsters from primary school upwards into the parks.

The plan will encourage all schools to engage with the areas and include them in the curriculum, and also aims to double the number of youth volunteers in England's most highly protected areas as part of the national citizen service.

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There are plans to double apprenticeships in national parks by 2020, increase the diversity of people visiting parks from the UK and build annual visitor numbers to 100m - up from 90m today.

Speaking as she launched the new plan in South Downs National Park today, environment secretary and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said too many children were not aware of the natural wonders of the national parks.

She said: 'Just as Yellowstone is known worldwide as one of America's national treasures, our beautiful lakes and dales, moors and fells are a symbol of this country, part of our British identity - they are also huge public assets that should benefit as many people as possible.'

The eight points are: Connect young people with nature, create thriving natural environments, drive growth in international tourism, deliver new apprenticeships, promote the parks' eateries, make them accessible to all, protect landscape and heritage and promote health and wellbeing aspects of visiting.

A High Court judicial review into the Broads National Park branding is currently ongoing.

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