Wednesday, 14 December 2011


BIAZA A-K-320 for web

David Cameron urged to befriend warthogs and wallabies to rekick the economy

ZOOS and aquariums can play an important role in kick starting the UK economy, the House of Commons was told today. (Dec 14)

This growing sector already contributes  £645m to the UK economy and helps generate over 11,000 jobs – and has huge potential for regional economic development.

MPs urged David Cameron’s government to do more to realise the potential for growth, which is clearly illustrated by Yorkshire Wildlife Park which has already generated £3.4m to its local community in only three years since opening.

At an adjournment debate on the role of zoos in regional economic development tabled by Andrew Rosindell MP at Westminster, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, Mark Prisk, was called on by MPs to recognise the importance of zoos and aquariums to the growth of the economy.

Gordon Marsden MP urged the government to ‘be a friend to the warthog, the wallaby and the ring-tailed lemur’.

Meanwhile Mr Rosindell spoke about the potential zoos and aquariums have which is  not being exploited by the government and urged the minister to recognise this potential.

He said:  “I would strongly suggest that, with the proper encouragement, aquaria, zoos and similar wildlife sites can become even more dynamic engines to help our economy in so many ways.”

A report commissioned by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), showed its member zoos and aquariums contribute £645 million to the UK economy and help generate about 11,000 jobs.

They not only boost local employment, but drive long term tourism growth, encourage inward investment, champion environmental technology, promote and protect native wildlife and our overall tourism landscape and support community activities.

Zoos and aquariums cover a number of departments including DCMS for tourism, DoE for education and DCLG for community activities, but Mr Rosindell’s main goal was to request a firm dialogue between DBIS (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) and BIAZA.

He was supported by a number of MPs representing zoos and aquariums in their constituencies including David Tredinnick (Twycross Zoo), Jim Shannon (WWT Castle Espie), Nigel Dodds (Belfast Zoo), Mike Crockart (Edinburgh Zoo), Andrew Selous (Whipsnade Zoo), Oliver Colvile (National Marine Aquarium), Stephen Moseley (Chester Zoo), Simon Hart (Folly Farm and Manor House), Mark Garnier (West Midland Safari Park), and Gordon Marsden (Blackpool Zoo).

The MPs spoke highly of the zoos and aquariums in their constituencies, not only as businesses and tourism attractions with high visitor numbers, but as institutions that carry out important work in education, conservation and research and have strong links with universities to develop skills.

They all spoke of the positive impact zoos have, the potential for growth and the importance of DBIS taking this issue forward. Mike Crockart MP said: “We need to recognise them as institutions which can help us grow our economy and address skills gaps.”

Stephen Moseley MP called zoos a ‘real engine for growth’ . 

Minister, Mark Prisk concluded the debate by saying that he recognised zoos and aquariums as businesses and that DBIS needs to look at how zoos and aquariums can work more closely with government.

Following the debate, Miranda Stevenson, Executive Director of BIAZA, said: “We were delighted to see the support of MPs at the debate and look forward to constructive dialogue with the minister.”

To watch the full adjournment debate visit:

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