"In many ways the remit of the National Parks – pursuing the economic and social wellbeing of communities alongside environmental management – is a thoroughly modern concept that fits well with the Welsh Government's approach to sustainable development. In this sense, the Parks are 'exemplars of sustainable development'."
"There are a range of positive economic benefits of the natural environment that the conservation role of National Parks helps to reinforce and sustain."
"It is often perceived that the National Park designation places constraints on economic development. However, this is a simplification which ignores the overall value and contribution of the environment which National Park status is intended to conserve and enhance."
Valuing Wales' National Parks
Arup was commissioned by a partnership of the Welsh National Park Authorities, Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Local Government Association to consider the economic value of Wales' National Parks. The final report, launched in November 2013 is entitled "Valuing Wales' National Parks".
Specifically, the study is concerned with the economic contribution of the environments within each National Park. This study follows on from a previous report undertaken in 2006 entitled "Valuing our Environment: Economic Impact of the National Parks of Wales" which attached values to the economic contribution of each of the National Park environments.
"The three National Parks are a significant part of the Welsh Economy. Overall, the National Park economies account for £557m of GVA, representing 1.2% of the Welsh economy. Economic activity that is concerned with the protection or management of the environment, or that is dependent in some way on the environment supports 10,738 jobs directly within the National Park boundary and a further 2,033 jobs across Wales. This activity generates 0.7% of Wales total GDP."
"The economic benefits of the National Parks are felt outside the Park boundaries. Nowhere are the 'spillover' benefits of the National Parks more evident than with regard to the tourism sector. The Parks receive 12 million visitors each year spending an estimated £1bn on goods and services. This greatly exceeds the turnover of tourism related businesses within the National Parks themselves, highlighting the fact that visitors to the Parks also stay and spend time in other parts of Wales."
13th November launch
The Report was launched by the Minister for Culture and Sport at the National Assembly for Wales on the 13th November to an audience of National Park businesses, politicians, representatives from across a wide range of sectors and invited Members of the public.
"Beyond economic effects, the National Parks contribute to quality of life in a variety of ways. The National Parks are a recreational resource. National Parks have previously been described as 'Well-being Factories'. Wales' three National Parks provide access to open space, which allow a wide range of activities that are beneficial to individuals' mental and physical health and wellbeing."
"There are also a range of other ecosystem services provided by the National Parks, the value of which is not always captured in measures of output and GVA. These include the benefits of clean water, carbon storage, and clean air."
"The three National Parks in Wales need to be viewed as key strategic assets that must to be sustained for the future. This study finds that the economic benefits of the National Parks extend well beyond the boundaries of the Parks themselves. The National Park designation has served Wales well over the past half a century and has enhanced the economic and social value of the Parks to Wales. Landscape is an important part of Welsh culture and the National Parks contribute positively to Wales' image."
A short film, concerning the economic value of National Parks in Wales was commissioned to accompany the launch of the report at the National Assembly. The film features business people from the National Parks whose livelihoods depend upon the continued conservation and enhancement of Wales' unique landscapes.
Key findings from within the Report have also been turned into an infographic.