The Lake District National Park Authority plays an important role in safeguarding the National Park now and for future generations. We do this by working in partnership with landowners and ensuring that appropriate environmental and public access protections are in place.
Our model for running a national park is not based on public ownership and people are often surprised to learn the National Park Authority owns less than four per cent of land in the Lake District. The rest is owned by organisations such as the National Trust, United Utilities, Forestry Commission and other private landowners.
We now have the advantage of working under various laws that allow for public access and maintain high levels of protection for the natural environment. We protect the National Park through access and environmental legislation, by working in partnership with landowners and stakeholders and by the National Park Authority’s planning controls.
The National Park has acquired land for many reasons since its formation in 1951, but in the main it has been to ensure people can access the land and make sure we can care for the environment. During this time legislation has changed, public rights of access have increased and the environment has become better protected, with much of this enshrined in law; so it’s not always necessary to own land to secure these benefits.
There are times when we buy land, but only when it’s necessary to secure improvements to the environment or public access, or to support our own operations. Once we have made those improvements, we plan to put the land back into private ownership with those rights maintained. We don’t need to own land to protect the public’s interest in visiting it, in enjoying it and knowing it is conserved to the highest standards.
As a public body, and like other landholders in the National Park, we keep our land holdings under regular review. We do this to ensure we are making best use of our resources to improve and look after the National Park as a whole.
This review has led to a number of our properties recently moving into alternative ownership.
The proceeds from the sale of any property are reinvested into protecting and caring for the National Park.