Close car parks to help environments like north Norfolk's, Chris Packham says
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Closing some car parks could be one way of limiting negative effects on environmentally sensitive areas such as north Norfolk, Chris Packham has said.
The naturalist and television presenter known for the Really Wild Show and Springwatch was speaking to an online audience as part of North Norfolk District Council's Greenbuild festival.
Mr Packham said the issue of access had long been a "bone of contention" in the area where he lives, the New Forest, as the high number of car parks made it all too easy for visitors to go there.
He said that although both the New Forest and north Norfolk had benefited from tourism, it needed to be managed.
The 60-year-old said: "I think sometimes we have to be a bit more draconian in our measures. We have to stop people going to some places and doing some things.
"One of the ways of restricting movement and reducing the impact would be to close some of those car parks.
"Just as people need management to protect birds, people need management to protect people. The people of north Norfolk are the most important because those are the ones that are going to keep that community healthy for other people to visit."
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Mr Packham said he had been coming to north Norfolk regularly since his first visit in the winter of 1979/80, when it was a "much different place than it is today".
He said action to halt climate change need to be taken on three levels - by individuals, as communities, and through persuading other people and other countries to do the same.
Mr Packham said: "We need to recognise our own capacity for empowerment, and we have to learn and acknowledge and love the fact that we can make a difference."
He said progress should be achieved through transitions rather than through sudden changes to reduce any negative side-effects, and said, for example it would be "disastrous" for north Norfolk's agricultural sector to suddenly go vegan.
Mr Packham said it was a "given" that less meat would be eaten in the future, but encouraged people to buy from "the farmer around the corner" rather than cheap meat from New Zealand or Australia.
Nigel Lloyd, the council's portfolio holder for environmental services, climate change and environment, said he was enthralled by what Mr Packham had to say.
“I was surprised how knowledgeable he was about north Norfolk," Mr Lloyd said. "Tourism is such a big deal for north Norfolk but there was a message not to throw the baby out with the bathwater”.