South Lakes MP Tim Farron has written senior government ministers to ask them when the decision on the National Park boundaries will be taken. Tim has said local residents deserve to know what will happen and should not have to put up with this ‘limbo’.
Back in 2011, Natural England, the public body responsible for conserving and enhancing the natural environment in England, proposed that some of these areas between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks should be designated as national park. The current proposed changes are:
In the Yorkshire Dales National Park the recommended changes relate to an area of approximately 418 square kilometres in Cumbria and Lancashire, in and around:
- The northern Howgill Fells, Wild Boar Fell, Mallerstang and part of the Orton Fells (all in Eden District)
- Middleton, Barbon, Casterton and Leck Fells, part of Firbank Fell, part of the Lune Valley and fells to the west (in the Districts of South Lakeland and Lancaster City)
In the Lake District National Park the recommended changes relate to an area of approximately 70 square kilometres in Cumbria, in and around:
- Birkbeck Fells Common, Bretherdale, Borrowdale, Whinfell, Grayrigg and Dillicar Commons and adjacent land (in Eden District and South Lakeland District) and
- Helsington Barrows to Sizergh Fell and part of the Lyth Valley and land to the North of Sizergh (in South Lakeland District)
The public inquiry was required after five local authorities objected. At the time, Cumbria, Lancashire and North Yorkshire County Councils and Eden and Richmondshire District Councils all raised objections to the plans.
Following its conclusion, an inspector should have made a recommendation to the secretary of state for the Department for Environment, Food and Agricultural Affairs, who will then make the final decision. Campaigners believe has then languished in an in-tray waiting for action.
Usually, the Secretary of State may decide whether to confirm the Orders (or not) and may also make modifications to the Orders, most typically on receipt of the Inspector’s Report. This decision has not happened.
Tim said: “People deserve to know either way what the government plan to do. Not knowing is beginning to cause uncertainty and blight. It seems this report is languishing in Whitehall gathering dust. Residents affected by this decision need to know either way. I will be pushing ministers hard on this in the coming weeks. It is totally and utterly unacceptable to think they can sweep this under the carpet.”