National parks are designated to conserve the natural beauty and cultural heritage of areas of outstanding landscape value, and also to promote opportunities for public understanding and enjoyment of their special qualities.
Although they are also subject to the usual structure of local government, each one has its own National Park Authority (NPA) with responsibility for conservation, planning, recreation management and fostering the social and economic wellbeing of local communities.
The Broads is not a national park designation, but is included in our products and statistics as it is widely considered to be part of the national parks family.
The Broads has its own special authority, the Broads Authority, which is similar to the NPAs but with extra powers in relation to navigation.
There are currently 13 national parks in England and Wales, including the Broads.
Ten were designated in the 1950s following the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, the Broads was created in 1989, and the New Forest in 2005.
The South Downs National Park became fully operational in April 2011, which also included becoming the statutory Planning and Access Authority.
In Scotland the National Parks (Scotland) Act was passed in July 2000.
The first Scottish National Park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, was established in July 2002, and the Cairngorms National Park was established in March 2003.
The Parks cover about 10 per cent of total land area of England and Wales, 9 per cent of England and 20 per cent of Wales.
They attract around 100 million visitors a year.
The two Scottish national parks cover 7 per cent of the land area of Scotland.
Northern Ireland has no national parks at present.