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Chairman: ‘Now the real work begins’

57 people from a range of organisations attended the NPMP annual forum in Settle's Victoria Hall
57 people from a range of organisations attended the NPMP annual forum in Settle's Victoria Hall
NPMP Steering Group chairman Carl Lis opens the 2018 forum, which served as the launch event for the new plan
NPMP Steering Group chairman Carl Lis opens the 2018 forum, which served as the launch event for the new plan

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Bainbridge, 10 December, 2018

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan (NPMP) 2019-2024 has been published.

It sets out, in effect, a five-year work programme to enhance the environment and support the local economy.  

More than a hundred organisations – all listed in the plan – have committed to work together to achieve one or more of the 49 objectives set out in it.

Chairman of the NPMP steering group, Carl Lis, presented the plan for the first time last Thursday (6 December 2018), at the second annual NPMP forum, held this year at the Victoria Hall in Settle.  

He told the gathering of 57 people, drawn from organisations and councils working in the National Park, that he was proud to be launching the new plan:

“The Management Plan is the single most important document for the National Park.  It contains an ambitious 20 year vision for the area, backed up by 49 specific objectives that will be delivered by a partnership of more than a 100 local organisations over the next 5 years.

“It’s important to remind ourselves that the management plan is prepared by a partnership of bodies and not by the National Park Authority on its own.  The steering group that I chair includes representatives of the people and organisations that are directly involved in action on the ground – that means farmers, land managers, tourism businesses, statutory government agencies and district councils.  

“We’ve focussed on the things we can do, if we work together, to make this National Park a better place.   It is unashamedly about people.  The plan recognises that people are at the heart of the National Park – the people that farm it, manage the land, live and work here, and the millions who come here to enjoy it.”

Mr Lis identified some of the biggest challenges, including the condition of barns and walls; the condition of nationally designated wildlife sites; and the decline in the number of young people working and living in the National Park.

He concluded by saying it had been “genuinely inspiring” to see the plan taking shape during the past two years:  “But dare I say it, this is the point at which the real work begins. The success of this plan will depend on all of the people who care about the Park working together to deliver on the commitments they have made.”

Leader of Richmondshire District Council, Yvonne Peacock, addressed the forum during a half hour open discussion.  She drew attention to objective F1 on house building in the National Park:

“We need homes for people to live in, affordable homes and local need homes – as well as open market homes, which make the affordable homes possible.  The target is to build 400 houses in the Park over five years and we really need to make this happen,” she said.

“The housing is part of a wider initiative to attract young people.  This is something we are taking to our own council for agreement and funding. This can’t be delivered without the resources.  What we have here is called the National Park Management Plan, but it’s a plan for the Park not just the Authority.  Unless all the organisations put effort into this, we won’t achieve the objectives.”

Leader of Craven District Council, Richard Foster, who also attended the event, said: “I think the new plan continues to enhance and conserve the natural environment whilst putting a stronger emphasis on supporting the communities that lie within its boundaries.   We will be working with the Park Authority to deliver the shared objectives.”

In a presentation to the forum, the Director of Conservation and Community at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Gary Smith, gave context for some of the objectives that the NPMP steering group had set.  

He highlighted that it was the first NPMP to cover the areas of Lancashire and Cumbria – including the ‘Westmorland Dales’ – that became part of the National Park in 2016.  It was hoped that a £3.5m landscape partnership programme (objective A7) would give the new area of the National Park a “kick start” and raise its profile.

He described an objective for a new agri-environment scheme (A8) as “a real biggie – as everyone knows farming is absolutely fundamental to the National Park”. On rivers, he said that less than a half of these in the National Park were in good condition, as measured by the water framework directive.  An objective (C3) to bring at least 90% of rivers into good condition by 2027 was an “ambitious target”.    National wildlife sites in the National Park were “not in the best condition”, but a “big ask” had been set in the new NPMP to bring half of such sites up to a favourable condition by 2024, he said.

He concluded by highlighting an objective (F2) to halt the decline of in the number of younger, working age households living in the National Park.

See here for more general information and here for what came out of the NPMP public consultation.

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