National parks 'contribute billions' to the economy

Activities within England's national parks contribute billions of pounds to the economy, a report has found.

National Parks England said the ten sites generate between £4.1 billion and £6.3 billion for the economy, which is the equivalent to the UK aerospace industry.

Ponies grazing in the New Forest National Park at Lyndhurst, Hampshire Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

It added that more than half of the English population lives within an hour's drive of a national park, receiving about 90 million visitors a year.

Environment minister Richard Benyon said: "Our national parks are the most treasured places in the country. More than 90 million people visit them each year, helping to boost economic growth in rural areas.

"This report highlights the value of these areas in promoting tourism and contributing to the UK economy."