National Park funding cut should focus minds on income generation

Proposed cuts to National Park funding in Wales should prompt discussions on fairer ways to generate and spend income in order to benefit park authorities and residents, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has said.

While the Welsh Government has yet to confirm the budgets for Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire Coast and Brecon Beacons national parks, cuts of 5 percent are anticipated for the coming financial year, with warnings of similar cuts in subsequent years.

FUW Brecon and Radnor County Executive Officer Aled Jones said; “There are naturally concerns regarding the impact the funding cuts will have for National Park authorities and residents and businesses within the parks, but it should prompt discussion on more equitable ways in which to generate income from those who visit the parks in order to compensate those who are faced with added costs and restrictions within National Parks.”

Mr Jones said that while many businesses benefitted from tourism within National Parks, many others did not.

“Many farms have diversified into tourism in order to help make ends meet, but if all farms did this the market would become diluted.

“This means the impact of being in a National Park for the majority of farm businesses is additional costs and restrictions compared with their counterparts outside the parks, and the same goes for other businesses and residents in general.

“Innovative ideas need to be explored in order to ensure income can be generated from visitors to the parks, as happens in other areas of the world, in order to compensate people and businesses for these additional costs.

“Otherwise the farms and residents which are at the heart of the community and landscape within our National Parks are effectively paying for the free entertainment of people who live outside the park’s, many of whom come for day trips and bring little economic benefit to the area.”

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