National Parks, together with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, contain some of the most spectacular and dramatic areas of countryside in Wales.
They are landscapes of national importance with designation conferring the highest status for the conservation of landscape. Millions of visitors enjoy these special qualities every year.
National Parks have seldom been higher in the public and political consciousness. Green and wild spaces give people respite and opportunities to breathe freely. However they have also been placed under great pressure, and sadly abused by some. We must enable visitors to have world-class experiences while ensuring the special qualities we seek to protect are not damaged. The interests of local communities, businesses and land managers must also be at the forefront of our minds.
Balancing these interests and priorities requires genuinely collaborative approaches. National Park Management Plans must embody this approach to collaboration and co-production, within and increasingly outside of individual Park boundaries.
Unfortunately, none of Wales’ ecosystems are currently showing all the attributes of resilience. Overall, biological diversity is declining, and the extent of some habitats has also declined significantly. Our Biodiversity Deep Dive has set out ambitious recommendations in order for us to meet the 30 by 30 target and National Parks will be intrinsic in helping take forward a number of key actions.
National Parks cover around 20% of Wales’s land area and are therefore critical partners in delivering a wide range of national and local priorities.
The vision set out in this Management Plan is for people and nature to work together for community wellbeing, for nature and carbon reduction, and in so doing to be an example for sustainable living beyond its boundaries. This very much reflects my own priorities for the Designated Landscapes family in Wales as a whole. We look forward to supporting the National Park Authority putting this bold vision into practice.