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'Evidence Papers' have been published to support the process of creating a Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan 2018-2023
'Evidence Papers' have been published to support the process of creating a Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan 2018-2023

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Bainbridge, 3 November, 2017

Six ‘evidence papers’ – containing the latest facts, figures and trends about the Yorkshire Dales National Park – have been published, in the latest step toward creating a new five-year management plan for the park.

The papers list figures on everything from the number of businesses in the park, to average household incomes, to the amount of land covered by trees.

Alongside the results of a public consultation, the papers are intended to guide seven ‘drafting groups’ which are currently writing objectives for the new plan.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan 2018-2023 will be the single most important document for the park.

“We’re in a position now to come up with an effective and exciting plan,” said Carl Lis, chairman of the management plan steering group, a partnership of 13 public, private and voluntary sector organisations. “In the summer we gathered people’s views on the big issues to tackle – and heard concerns about the future of farming post-Brexit, wildlife crime and ‘community sustainability’ – and now we have these evidence papers to draw on.

“Over the next few months the drafting groups will be working hard to review objectives that were in the last plan, and come up with new ones to address the challenges the National Park faces – and the opportunities that are there.”

One of the drafting groups is the relatively newly-established ‘Farming and Land Management Forum’, made up of farmers, landowners and representatives of the National Farmers Union, the Country Land and Business Association, Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) member, Chris Clark, who farms at Nethergill, is part of the group.  He said that in light of Britain’s imminent exit from the European Union, there was little doubt that the future of upland farming would be a key issue for the new plan:

“‘The evidence papers show that income levels from farming on marginal land are modest to say the least. So farming viability in the uplands is extremely vulnerable to changes in farm support and environmental payments. Brexit will create, if it hasn’t already, a period of great uncertainty not only for Dales farmers but also for those bodies trying to support farmers to protect and manage the Dales’ landscape.’

“However, Brexit could represent a significant opportunity to improve the profitability of hill farming and the environmental outputs associated with it. There are likely to be all sorts of business opportunities – but every farmer, farm-holding and farm business is different, so there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.”

The evidence papers cover a wide range of issues from conservation of the landscape and public access through to supporting the local economy.  They will continue to be updated with any relevant new information.  

The YDNPA’s Head of Sustainable Development, Peter Stockton, said:  “The papers pull together evidence from many different sources. However, there may well be things that we have overlooked or where other people have better information than we do.  That is why the management plan steering group is inviting people to comment on the papers and to let us know if they have relevant information.”

Here’s what happens next in the management plan process:

  • From now to mid-November:  The seven groups will complete their work proposing a direction of travel for the new plan.
  • Thursday 23 November:  Their work will be carefully scrutinised at the first ever ‘management plan forum’, to take place at Ingleton Community Centre.  Around 70 organisations which are active in the National Park, such as the Craven Potholing Club and the National Trust, will be invited to the forum.
  • Dec-Feb 2018:   The steering group will finalise and publish the management plan.
  • Spring 2018:  A public consultation will be held on the plan, so that people can suggest any final revisions or additions.
  • June 2018:  The management plan will be adopted. From that point on, the plan will formally guide the National Park-related work of all the partner organisations on the steering group.

The 13 organisations on the 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

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