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 4% of land in the Lake District. Over half of the land is privately owned, with the rest owned by organisations such as the National Trust, United Utilities and the Forestry Commission.
There are 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. Now we own less than 4% of the National Park.
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. When we sell land it is to ensure we are making best use of our resources to improve and look after the National Park as a whole. The proceeds from the sale of any property are reinvested into protecting and caring for the National Park.
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.