National Parks and AONBs cover a quarter of England, and more than two thirds of people in England live within half an hour's travel of at least one site. Each year more than 260 million people visit them, spending in excess of £6bn and supporting thousands of jobs and more than 85,000 businesses.Environment Minister Rory Stewart said: "Our British landscapes are among the most beautiful and precious in the world. And such land remains central to the British imagination, to our souls and to our identity.
"We would miss such landscapes profoundly if they were gone. We have a deep obligation to protect this land, its farms and its communities.
"This report also reminds us that safeguarding our countryside can also generate economic value, how our protected landscapes are increasingly rare in a rapidly developing world and just how precious they are to visitors and residents. However, while we celebrate the fact that they have also to potential to bring prosperity, we must never reduce such places simply to their economic value – they are so much more than that."The publication also highlights the vital work that the National Park Authorities, AONB Partnerships and Conservation Boards undertake with local people and businesses to help keep these places special. They work to maintain thriving, living landscapes, where natural assets are conserved and enhanced and where people, businesses and communities can prosper, now and in the future.