Prescott plans two new National Parks for Southern England

The New Forest and the South Downs have been earmarked to become the newest National Parks in England and Wales, according to Deputy Prime Minster John Prescott. Increased protection for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty is also in the pipeline.

The Countryside Agency has been asked to draw up plans for the two new parks. The total combined area under consideration for National Park designation is almost 2,000km².

A report issued by the Countryside Commission last year recommended the two new parks and stated that the New Forest already met criteria for designation. The South Downs is a less obvious candidate since it is less ‘rugged’ and ‘wild’ than National Park designation usually stipulates. Negotiations with landowners are expected to be the key stumbling block for the plan to turn sections of the South Downs into a National Park.

Since 1949, ten National Parks and 41 AONBs have been created in England and Wales. The National Parks in England are:

  • Dartmoor
  • Exmoor
  • the Lake District
  • Northumberland
  • the North York Moors
  • the Peak District
  • the Yorkshire Dales

In Wales, there are three National Parks:

  • the Brecon Beacons
  • Pembroke Coast
  • Snowdonia

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