How the UK’s National Parks are leading the way in environmental gain

Every industry’s environmental record is under scrutiny, and tourism is no exception.

The news stories can often be negative, given the detrimental effects of long-haul flights, and the impact thousands of visitors can have on a natural landscape.

In summer 2019 a Parliamentary committee launched an inquiry into the environmental costs of tourism, and how they might be ameliorated.

Some forward thinkers within the sector are going further however – and considering not just how to reduce the impact of tourism, but actually improve the landscapes they work in. Leading the way in ‘environmental gain’ are some of the UK National Parks. Here are four very different examples.

1. Putting back into the landscape

This European endorsement for The Sill, the Northumberland National Park visitor destination, was partly in recognition of its role in putting something back into this incredible landscape. The acclaim highlighted “the centre’s work to preserve the landscape, engaging people to learn more about their surroundings and prompting action in supporting its preservation”.

2. Boosting the butterflies

The consumer craziness of Black Friday has been turned on its head at the North York Moors National Park. It will benefit from £9,413 of funding to help protect rare butterflies in the park thanks to a Black Friday campaign by Forest Holidays and the UK National Parks.

3. Planting 5,000 trees

The urgent need to plant more trees even made it into the manifestos during the 2019 General Election. But South Downs National Park is ahead of the political parties, having launched an initiative to plant 5,000 trees across its acres.

4. Promoting green waterways

We hear a lot about the green move to electric powered cars. But what about transport on our waterways? Most boats are powered by fossil fuels, but the Broads National Park is encouraging a switch to unpowered, hybrid and electric vessels by giving owners a discount on their tolls.

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Photograph: Charlie Jackson on Flickr

What we do

Qa Research undertakes a wide range of research, insight and evaluation studies for tourism organisations including visitor attractions, destination marketing / management organisations , trade bodies and associations as well as national parks, AONB’s and conservation charities.

Core topic areas include visitor satisfaction studies, new concept / product demand testing, pre and post advertising research and evaluation, membership insight, business barometer surveys, potential visitor perceptions, new brand development and brand refinement research and much more.

Find out more about the work we’ve done within the tourism sector by contacting Kathrin Tennstedt on