South West National Parks essential for the region’s economy

enpaThe contribution made by Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks to the region’s economy has been highlighted in a new economic prospectus.

The two National Parks are living, working landscapes that are home to approximately 44,000 people and 3,145 businesses with an annual turnover of £770m a year.

National Parks are also world renowned brands, recognised for quality of environment and visitor experience. Dartmoor and Exmoor attract over 8 million visitor days and generate £428 million for the greater Dartmoor and Exmoor areas annually.

The prospectus highlights the high quality of the National Park environment underpins economic activity both within the National Parks and the wider Heart of the South West area. National Park Authorities bring together key players to support and enable sustainable economic growth within these deeply rural landscapes.

Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park Authorities have been at the forefront of supporting pioneering new ways to unlock economic growth within the National Parks, the prospectus highlights some of these success stories.

Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley, said: “Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks are key partners in the HotSW LEP, and are exemplars of the distinctive assets of our area that we so proudly promote. This prospectus shows that value of the National Parks to our area and that of the UK, and we welcome their drive to showcase their unique selling points in the national and international arena.

“HotSW LEP is supporting programmes to aid the 3,000 businesses in the National Parks, that have a turnover of £770m, through our work on improved connectivity in transport and broadband and the roll-out of our Growth Hub business support service.”

Peter Harper, Chair of Dartmoor National Park Authority said: “We work hard to support and promote sustainable development within our National Parks. We also know that these economic assets are important to wider regional growth through the visitor economy, quality of life, health and recreational offer as well as providing valuable carbon and water catchment.

“Our National Parks are national and regional assets; this prospectus shares the innovative work we have undertaken to help support growth within our boundaries and beyond.”

Andrea Davis, Chairman of Exmoor National Park Authority agreed: “We are keen to play a pro-active role with partners across the area to secure sustainable economic growth within some of the most rural areas. Within the prospectus we highlight our aspirations for what economic potential can be unlocked with additional investment and are already working up more detailed proposals with a range of partners to turn these aspirations intra reality.” 

Both National Park Authorities are keen to continue to build on their successes in contributing to regional growth and have identified four key areas for investment to release future growth potential:

  • Improving connectivity – through superfast broadband and better mobile coverage to deliver 4G service to all settlements
  • Promoting the place and product – recognising the value of the National Park and local supply chains, including food and drink, as quality destination ‘brands’ and the unique distinctive product they offer to the region
  • Support key sectors – such as farming, forestry, food and tourism. The creation of rural growth hubs, to increase productivity and develop rural skills
  • Sustain the resource – There is a need for continued investment managing the National Park resource: The environment; Access to it and; Promotion. Without this the resource will degrade and opportunities for sustainable rural growth lost.

The Economic Prospect can be read here: http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/living-and-working/business-and-economy

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