4 ways communities can help to protect our national parks
If Covid-19 has taught us anything it is a newfound appreciation for the outdoors. Being confined to our homes has given us time to reflect on how important it is to protect our green, open spaces such as national parks. Now is a better time than any to make sure we have these beautiful spaces to return to in the future.
21 April 2021
Approximately 10% of England, 20% of Wales and 8% of Scotland is protected by national parks. Scattered around the country, these spaces were founded in 1949 as part of the National Parks and Access to Countryside Act, to conserve and enhance their natural beauty. But, in order for the parks to protect their landscapes, we must protect them. And one way we can do this is to adopt as many sustainable practices as possible.
These Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are living, working landscapes that are essential for environmental health as well as our own physical and mental wellbeing. The 15 national parks around the UK are home to 327,000 people and 25,220 businesses.
We take a look at what we can do as a community to protect these natural areas which we rely on so heavily.
As restrictions begin to lift, people are starting to plan much needed holidays and trips. Many businesses are also reintroducing office work into everyday life.
As we integrate normality back into our lives, now is a better time than any to practice greener travel. Carpooling, public transport, cycling and walking can help to significantly reduce our impact on the environment.
While travelling allows us to enjoy stunning natural landscapes, it is important that we find ways of reaching these areas sustainably.
Lowering passive energy consumption
Moving towards an environmentally friendly future requires upgrades and renovation of current energy installations. Switching to low carbon appliances may seem expensive and time consuming, but it will save time and money in the long term.
Upgrading appliances, installing smart meters and even switching to LED lighting can save on costs and reduce your carbon footprint. Introducing LED lights into your home or workplace can reduce your lighting bill by over 80%.
Switching off devices when they are not in use also helps to reduce passive consumption and energy waste. While these adjustments may seem small, they can drastically reduce consumption and waste.
Educating ourselves and others on the environment and sustainability
While we continue to protect these spaces to the best of our ability, it is important that we understand why we do. Visiting these national parks allows people to recognise the eco-systems we are fighting to preserve.
National restrictions have meant that many people have not been able to visit these spaces over the past year. But, several national parks have created online tours to keep people engaging with their landscapes. As restrictions start to lift, now is the perfect time to get out and appreciate the spaces that we have, and learn how we can support them.
Remain conscious of physical impacts on nature
When we return to these open spaces, it is important that we are conscious of our physical impact on the environment. Throwing away litter, recycling where possible, and reducing plastic consumption are vital precautions in preserving our national parks.
Last year microplastics were discovered near the top of the highest mountain in Wales, Snowdon. Most likely deposited through rain fall, these tiny particles revealed a level of pollution far worse than many could’ve imagined. Snowdonia National Park Authority warned that plastic bottles and wrappers are detrimental contributors to the pollution of these spaces.
The groups of volunteers working to clean our national parks are continuing to grow. However, it has been reported that 400 bags of litter are collected from Snowdon National Park every year.
Where does Smith Bellerby come in?
At Smith Bellerby, we are passionate about working towards a more sustainable future. Reducing wasteful consumption comes with benefits for our national parks and the future of our communities. We rely on our environment as much as it relies on us, so we must do all we can to protect it.
Drawing on our 20+ years of experience and diverse list of services, we can identify energy and cost saving areas easily.
Get in touch today to find out how we can assist you on your sustainability journey.