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National Park report highlights successes and failures

Visitors enjoying Grassington; the value of tourism within the Park increased again last year (Credit the YDNPA)

[A]n annual report on the Yorkshire Dales’ National Park Management Plan (NPMP) has outlined a list of “significant achievements”, as well as some issues where there has been “little or no progress”.

Of the 53 objectives in the current NPMP 2013 – 2018, 12 have already been achieved, while 26 are on course to be achieved.  However, there are 14 objectives where progress is behind schedule and one where little or no progress has been made.

The NPMP guides the work of all the organisations operating in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

“This is about accountability,” said Carl Lis, chairman of the NPMP Steering Group. “It’s no good having what is in effect a five-year work programme – which all the different organisations have signed up to – without keeping track of how we’re doing.”

The short report summarises some of the main achievements in the 2016/17 financial year.  They include:

  • The formal adoption of a new Local Plan for the National Park, which identifies sites for the development of new homes and businesses.
  • An increase in the value of tourism within the Park, now 16 per cent higher in real terms than in 2012.
  • The successful start of a £2.5m programme of conservation and community projects around Ingleborough.
  • An increase in volunteering with the National Park Authority.

However, slower progress has been made on objectives relating to barns conservation, building more affordable homes, safeguarding local services and the condition of Sites of Special Scientific Interest.  Little or no progress has been made on an objective to provide basic mobile phone coverage across the Park.

Carl Lis said:  “A lot of good work has been done in the National Park in the past year, in what are pretty challenging times.  The big positives include work on hyperfast community broadband, volunteering, apprentices and tourism.

“But some objectives are proving more difficult to meet, such as getting enough affordable houses built and getting more of our many nationally-important wildlife sites into favourable condition. These will be two of the issues that we’ll need to tackle as part of the new management plan that we will be publishing next year.”

The 13 organisations represented on the NPMP steering group are:

  • Craven District Council
  • Dales Farmer Network
  • Dales Rural Estates Network
  • Dales Tourism Business
  • Eden District Council
  • Environment Agency
  • Forestry Commission
  • Lancaster City Council
  • Natural England
  • Richmondshire District Council
  • South Lakeland District Council
  • Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

The annual report can be found here: http://bit.ly/2v6brew

The National Park Management Plan for the period 2018-2023 is currently being updated. A consultation ran from 22 May to 3 July this year, during which people were asked to identify ways in which the National Park could be improved.  The new plan, drawing on people’s responses to the consultation, will be published in 2018.

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