MEDC case study: tourism in the UK national parks
The UK's National Parks include some of the country's most beautiful natural landscapes, including coasts, mountains and forests. In 1949 the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act was passed in order to protect the UK's areas of natural beauty and ensure that everyone could enjoy them today and in the future.
There are currently 12 national parks across England and Wales, including Dartmoor, the New Forest, the Lake District, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales and Snowdonia.
Lake District National Park
Grasmere in the Lake District
The Lake District National Park was created in 1951. Covering 880 square miles, it is the UK's largest national park and receives 12 million visitors a year. People come to the Lake District for many reasons, including hill walking, rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing and boating. They also come to visit historical buildings, or just to enjoy the beautiful lakes and mountains.
Balancing different interests
The park is managed by the National Parks Authority (NPA), which attempts to balance the conflicting priorities of different park users. For example:
- The protection of the park's environment, wildlife and natural features - things that can be harmed by excessive tourism. This is not only the Authority's job, but is also powerfully lobbied for by conservation and wildlife groups.
- Tourists who come to enjoy the park need roads, parking, accommodation, shops and restaurants which are not necessarily going to be good for the countryside.
- Local businesses may want to encourage more and more visitors.
- Farmers, who may be concerned about damage to fences and livestock by walkers and their dogs.
- Local residents, who may be worried about congestion, littering, noise pollution and the erosion of footpaths.
If these different interests are not carefully balanced, the result could be damage to the environment, local people becoming upset or even hostile, and tourists being put off visiting the park.
Back to Tourism index
National parks are now extremely popular places to visit. National Parks are areas of outstanding natural beauty which have been preserved for the people of the future.
National Park has two aims;
- To preserve and enhance an area’s natural beauty
- To promote people’s enjoyment of the countryside
It is not easy to achieve these aims and rules and regulations are often set out to avoid any problems. However, with all types of tourism there are problems. The parks main problems are pressure from visitors.
National Parks are close to densely populated areas. This leads to large percentages of visitor numbers during peak times, which in turn increase litter, footpath erosion, congestion and pollution. There is also often conflict between tourists and local people living in the national park.
Case Study: The Lake District, UK
Reasons For Growth
- Offers magnificent and unique landscapes- Rivers and Mountains.
- Vast Range of things to do- From Climbing to Sailing.
- Becoming more accessible.
- Wide Range of ecosystems and Nature Reserves.
- Releases the pressures from Urban Living.
How do people solve and reduce impacts of Tourism in the Lake District?
- Traffic: Traffic is a big problem in the Lake District and is reduced by setting speed limits to 40 mph as well as restricting on-street parking and introduces new trunk roads to space the traffic out.
- Landscape: People maintain the natural beauty of the Lake District by Planting trees and Repairing Eroded Footpaths.
- Noise Pollution: In order to maintain a sense of peace and tranquillity for both residents and tourists, there has been a water skiing ban on Lake Windermere and a permanent speed limit of 10 mph was set in 2005.
- Shortage of Housing: allot of tourists buy second homes and this leads to increase in price for the locals. This has been solved by affordable houses being built just available to local people, allowing both local people and tourists to enjoy the National Park.