Twenty-one of Britain's leading conservation and environmental bodies have reaffirmed their commitment to safeguard the future of the country's finest heritage. Partners have signed up to a range of shared outcomes through a Joint Statement that will support the sustainable management of, and public access to: archaeological sites, monuments, landscapes, and buildings. The signatories want to see an improvement in the conservation and interpretation of the historic environment and cultural heritage within the UK's National Parks.
Tony Gates, chief executive of Northumberland National Park Authority and UK Policy Lead on the Historic Environment, said: "This is a landmark for the natural and cultural heritage of Britain's finest landscapes. Right across England, Scotland, and Wales, from the Cairngorms to Pembrokeshire and the South Downs, the organisations that are charged with the responsibility of conserving our past now look to even closer working and assured future."
Peter Charlesworth, chairman of National Parks UK, said: "The Joint Statement on the Historic Environment is a demonstration of the partners' continued shared commitment to protect the wealth of cultural heritage in our National Parks."
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: "National Parks include many areas prized for their remoteness, tranquillity, and their importance to nature conservation, but despite their apparent wildness, the landscapes we see today are also cultural landscapes, telling the story of thousands of years of human interaction with nature.
"It gives me great pleasure to be signing the National Parks Joint Statement on behalf of Historic England and in doing so, to renew our commitment to collaborate with those charged with managing and protecting these most treasured landscapes."
The Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates said: "This is a powerful statement of the value of the historic environment to our National Parks. It is important because it recognises our shared responsibilities in caring for the cultural heritage of these special landscapes."
Dr George Findlater, Historic Environment Scotland said: "The Joint Statement signifies a commitment from some of the UK's biggest and most influential conservation and heritage groups to combine our resources and focus them towards making a tangible difference to the protection of our National Parks. These parks attract many visitors and reinforce our international image, as well as sustaining local distinctiveness and cultural identity. It's vital that we continue to work together towards to ensure the sustainable management, enjoyment, and cultural understanding of these important places."
1. The historic environment is defined as both the physical and intangible evidence, whether visible or buried, the product of all past human activity as a direct result of human interaction with nature and landscape. It includes archaeological sites, monuments, buildings, settlements, artefacts, whole landscapes and intangible cultural heritage, real and perceived. It is part of our human story and is highly regarded and valued by communities and visitors alike.
2. The Joint Statement was first signed in 1995 between the statutory heritage and countryside agencies of England and Wales and the National Parks, recognising the unique opportunity provided by National Parks for the conservation of the historic environment, the promotion of public understanding and enjoyment of the heritage and the sharing of best practice. In 1998 the agencies and National Parks signed a Declaration of Support for the historic environment of the National Parks of England and Wales.3. A revised Joint Statement and Action Plan have been signed in 2004 and in 2009, the latter including the heritage and countryside agencies and National Parks in Scotland. The latest iteration of the Joint Statement includes the heritage and countryside agencies of England, Wales and Scotland and all 15 UK National Parks.