The Peak District National Park authority has an obligation to help the economy of the Peak District by helping businesses within the park. The national park authority aims to help business in a way which promotes sustainability and helps fulfill the objectives of the national park. In order to do this the park authority has set up what is known as the New environmental Economy programme (NEE), which is now running in its second year. Empirical studies regarding the effectiveness of the programme have suggested the scheme has created and safeguarded in excess of 200 jobs.
The scheme itself has awarded more than £270,000 which has been used to set up new businesses in the national park. The scheme has also helped another 12 businesses diversify into new areas which has made them stronger. Grants themselves have been awarded to a wide range of different businesses which range from acupuncture clinic to a greenhouse design business. One of the most recent developments in regards to grants has been the Peak District farm holidays group receiving a grant of over £6000 to produce a touring map of the Peak District. The touring map will highlight businesses which have been awarded the environmental quality mark, and have hence helped the park through their activities.
The New Environmental Economy programme is open to any business within the Peak District which is committed to operating in a responsible way. This means in other words that businesses are sustainable and are not operating in a way which diminishes the greatest asset for all businesses within the Peak District, the Peak District itself. Many of the businesses awarded grants provide customers with products which help show off the Peak District. These may range from arts and crafts to locally sourced meats.
Should grant applicants fulfil the key criteria of producing a new product or service, as well as providing economic and environmental benefits to the Peak District, they may be liable for a grant. The grants pay a percentage of projects costs, and are dependent on the perceived benefits which the project may bring to the park. The grants vary from a minimum of 30% to a maximum of 80% of total costs. A maximum of £20000 is available for any one project or business.