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Milky Way over Ribblehead Viaduct Pete Collins

A2 – Dark Skies

Maintain the National Park as a place where a true sense of tranquillity, remoteness and solitude can be found, and, by 2021, obtain Dark Sky Reserve status to enhance and promote enjoyment of its night sky.


How the local partners are doing on this objective

Progress: The Yorkshire Dales National Park was awarded Dark Sky Reserve status in December 2020. An annual report outlining how the National Park continues to meet the standard was submitted to the IDA December 2022.

Press Releases & related articles:

12 March 2024 – Readings show stargazing at its best

14 April 2022 – Dark Skies Festival Success!

7 December 2020 – Dark Sky Reserve Success for National Parks

9 October 2020 – Local support for Dark Sky Reserve bid

1 July 2020 – Dark Sky Reserve bid endorsed


Rationale:  Dark night skies are one of the special qualities of the National Park.  Working towards a ‘Dark Skies’ designation has been strongly supported through the Parish Forums and at the National Park Management Plan Forum in 2017.  The designation process would lead to advice and support for individuals, businesses and organisations looking to reduce light pollution as well as a programme of activities to encourage enjoyment of the night skies by locals and visitors.

Lead partnerYorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Supporting partnersNorth Yorkshire Council; Westmorland & Furness Council; Lancashire County Council; Parish Councils

Further information:  YDNPA – Stargazing; Dark Sky Discovery website; International Dark Sky Reserves; YDNPA – Good lighting advice; YDNPA – Dark Sky;

Cost over 5 years:  £100,000

Funding shortfall: None

Related objectives: A3; E2

Ecosystem services: Sense of place and inspiration; tranquillity; recreation

Trade-offs:  The policies in the Yorkshire Dales Local Plan are already sufficient to comply with designation.

Baseline: YDNP is the fourth darkest local authority area in England. 79% of night skies fall in the darkest category.