Valuing England’s National Parks

Client: National Parks England

Cumulus Consultants, in partnership with ICF-GHK, was commissioned by National Parks England to assess the contribution of England’s National Parks to national and local economic prosperity and well-being.


During the six month project, we collated publicly available data, reviewed literature, gathered evidence from all ten National Park Authorities and undertook economic analysis.

The report, launched in 2013, presents the latest economic and socio-economic data relating to the National Parks, assesses the contribution of National Parks to economic prosperity and well-being, and identifies future opportunities for National Park Authorities to further support sustainable rural economies in partnership with local communities, businesses and local government partners.  Cumulus produced individual economic profiles for each National Park and a series of case studies.

Findings and recommendations

Key findings include:

  • English National Parks contribute between £4.1 and £6.3bn to the economy.
  • There are 22,500 businesses in the National Parks with a combined turnover of £10.4bn employing 140,000 people.
  • Over 90 million people visit the English National Parks each year, spending at least £4 billion.
  • Over 50% of people in England live within an hour’s travel of a National Park

Key recommendations are set out in a number of opportunities for National Park Authorities and partners; these include:

  • Promoting sustainable farming and forestry, and sustainable tourism
  • Progressing economic development by closer working with Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities
  • Developing appropriate infrastructure to support economic growth
  • Raising the profile of National Parks as contributors to economic growth and developing the evidence base.

Key benefits

  • Established the economic impact of England’s National Parks.
  • Reinforced the importance of the National Park Grant and the return on this investment.
  • Identified challenges to be addressed and opportunities to be developed.
  • Provided a baseline for future monitoring.

This report highlights the value of the National Parks in promoting tourism and contributing to the UK economy and is packed with information and case studies showing how National Park Authorities support rural businesses, communities and economies while ensuring the National Parks remain beautiful places where people want to live, work and visit.

Richard Benyon MP, Environment Minister 2010-2013