National parks of the United Kingdom

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National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Scenic Areas in the UK

National parks are a devolved matter with each of the countries of the United Kingdom having its own policies and arrangements. Counted together, the United Kingdom has fifteen national parks with ten in England, three in Wales and two in Scotland. These parks are not truly national parks according to the internationally accepted standard of the IUCN[1] but they are areas of outstanding landscape where habitation and commercial activities are restricted.

There are currently no national parks in Northern Ireland though there are controversial moves to establish one in the Mourne Mountains.[2] If established, it would stretch from Carlingford Lough to Newcastle and Slieve Croob. Though it might create jobs in tourism, there are fears that it would drive up the area's cost of living.

All fifteen national parks share two statutory purposes; To conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area, and to promote understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the national park by the public. The Scottish national parks have two further statutory purposes; To promote sustainable use of the natural resources of the area, and to promote sustainable economic and social development of the area’s communities.

The Broads was not established as a national park, but was described at the time as having a 'status equivalent to that of a national park'. It has since adopted the title 'national park' and is a member of the UK national parks family, with the same level of landscape protection and an additional statutory purpose; to protect the interests of navigation.[3]

All fifteen national parks in the UK are members of the Association of National Park Authorities (ANPA), which works to promote the UK national parks family and to facilitate training and development between staff and members of all parks.[4]

Beginning in 2014 there was a movement to establish the Greater London area as a national park.[5]

For details of the established national parks, see:


  1. ^ "Even though the IUCN call category II 'national parks', the UK's national parks are actually in category V." UK ANPA. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  2. ^ Cassidy, Martin. "Northern Ireland | Community split over national park". BBC News. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
  3. ^ "Aims and purposes of National Parks". UK ANPA. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  4. ^ "About ANPA". UK ANPA. Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  5. ^ Raven-Ellison, Daniel. "Why Greater London should be made into an urban national park". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2015.

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