Campaign for National Parks

Photo of Nant Gwynant Valley, Snowdonia on CNP Flyer.
Campaign for National Parks Flyer featuring Nant Gwynant Valley, Snowdonia. Photo K.J. Richardson.

Recently, when opening a copy of Summit magazine, out popped a flyer on which was a scenic photograph showing fields, trees, a lake and mountains. Printed at the top was a bold proclamation: “keep beautiful places safe.” Usually flyers that pop out of magazines are lucky to even get a cursory glance before going straight in the recycle bin, but this one piqued my curiosity. It turned out to be advertising the Campaign for National Parks (CNP). Not to be confused with NCP, who like to cover place with over priced car parks, the CNP is an organisation that aims to protect our National Parks. Being a regular visitor to National Parks such as the Peak District and the Lake District, I was surprised that I had not heard of this organisation before.

What is the Campaign for National Parks?

We’re your National Parks watchdog

The Campaign for National Parks is a charity organisation which represents the interests of the national parks. The aim of the CNP is to protect and promote National Parks for the benefit and quiet enjoyment of all, which includes walkers, campers and climbers! According to the CNP, National Parks should be beautiful places where natural landforms are preserved and wildlife flourishes.

The CNP directly represents some 40 environmental and amenity groups, which in turn represent over 3 million people with an interest in National Park matters, i.e. people that live and work in them and those that visit them.

The organisation has been around for quite a while. In 1936, before we had any national parks, the Standing Committee on National Parks (SCNP) was established in order to campaign for the creation of national parks. This organisation was the forerunner of the CNP.

In 1949 the Government passed an Act of Parliament to establish National Parks. The first National Parks were established in the 1950s.

In 1977 the Standing Committee (SCNP) became knowns as the Council for National Parks and now the organisation is called Campaign for National Parks.

The rolling chalk hills of the South Downs National Park.
CNP were instrumental in creating up the South Downs National Park. Source: Flickr by Hardo.

There are currently 10 National Parks in England, 3 in Wales and 2 in Scotland. Scotland is considering designation of the UK’s first Coastal and Marine National Park, providing protection for marine species and habitats. In Northern Ireland the Mourne has been proposed as a national park.

National Park Year Established
Peak District 1951
Lake Ditsrict 1951
Dartmoor 1951
Snowdonia 1951
North York Moors 1952
Pembrokeshire Coast 1952
Yorkshire Dales 1954
Exmoor 1954
Northumberland 1956
Brecon Beacons 1957
The Norfolk Boards 1987
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs 2002
Cairngorms National Park 2003
The New Forest 2005
The South Downs 2009

The National Parks of England and Wales are among the most beautiful and valued landscapes in the British Isles, containing some of our most breathtaking scenery, rare wildlife and cultural heritage. The National Parks are visited by millions of people each year, who come to enjoy their unique qualities, peace and tranquillity, and they are also ‘living landscapes’, home to diverse communities. The National Parks must be conserved for the benefit of all, now and in the future – they are “not ours, but ours to look after”. Campaign For National Parks.

What does the Campaign for National Parks do?

The aim of the Campaign for National Parks is to protect and enhance the park. They fight against developments which would spoil and degrade the parks, for example industrial activity such as open cast mining and inappropriate road building. They work by presenting information at public enquiries and lobbying the government.

Broadcaster and adventurer Ben Fogle is President of the CNP:

It’s often assumed National Parks are completely protected, but sadly this is not the case.

Most recently CNP has been involved in the successful campaign to establish the South Downs as a national park.

The CNP is involved in reducing the impact of mineral mining and military training operations, as well as ensuring that wind farms are suitably located. It monitors planning issues as well as any changes to planning policy that would affect national parks. It also conducts research that helps influence debate about National Parks.

The CNP should also not be confused with the BNP. The British National Party (BNP) might claim they are not racists, but have they developed a groundbreaking programme to engage ethnic minority communities in National Parks? No, but the CNP have, and its called ‘Mosaic’.

Can I Join the Campaign for National Parks?

The CNP is a charity and relies on donations and memberships. Individuals can become Friends of the Campaign for National Parks. Upon joining you receive a membership pack and Viewpoint magazine three times a year.

The National Parks in Scotland are represented by the Scottish Council for National Parks.


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