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Yorkshire Dales Farming & Land Management Forum Forum visit to Eden catchment

Terms of Reference


The Yorkshire Dales Farming and Land Management Forum was established in 2015 to support the future of farming and land management within the National Park and develop key farming and land management focussed objectives for the Yorkshire Dales National Park management plan. Its continued role oversees the implementation of the management plan objectives and brings together expertise in developing innovative projects that support the future of sustainable land management within the National Park.

The Forum is made up of individuals and organisations committed to supporting the future of farming and land management within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

It currently meets three times a year.

Terms of Reference (pdf version) were adopted on 23 September 2020 (updated January 2022).


Working together to support the future of an economically viable and environmentally responsible farming and land management sector within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.


The Yorkshire Dales Farming and Land Management Forum provide expertise and guidance to the National Park Authority on the future of farming and land management. The forum takes accountability for the delivery of key National Park management plan objectives and is involved in the National Park Management Plan process. It will develop and maintain closer working relationships between organisations and individuals with a responsibility for or interest in farming and land management. It acts as an umbrella body and provides a place for individuals and organisations to exchange information and views and to highlight issues and challenges affecting the rural community of the National Park.


  1. To act as a voice for the farming and land management community, which in turn aids and influences the decision making of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.
  2. To contribute to the narrative on the future of farming in the Yorkshire Dales by developing and supporting innovative approaches to sustainable land management.
  3. To influence key policy makers and decision-making organisations by establishing close working relationships and highlighting the key issues and opportunities facing land management within the National Park.
  4. To measure and report on targets and indicators for the rural work force and farm profitability in the Yorkshire Dales National Park as set out in the National Park Management Plan.
  5. To promote and foster support for social sustainability within the land management community.


Membership of the forum is open to those organisations and individuals which:

  • have a clear interest in farming and land management in the Yorkshire Dales National Park
  • are prepared to work collaboratively and constructively
  • are prepared to work on behalf of the Yorkshire Dales Farming and Land Management Forum and commit officer or volunteer time, or financial and/or other resources to its development and activities.

Individuals or organisations who would like to become members of the Forum should contact the Forum Secretariat (Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority) via email:

The need for wide membership has to be balanced against the need to keep the Forum small enough to facilitate debate and action. It also needs to ensure there is representation of the farming community from all parts of the National Park. For this reason the total membership of the group is limited to a maximum of 21 individuals and groups/organisations as follows:

  • 12 Farmer representatives (one from each main dale or area of the park)
  • The Farmer Network
  • National Farmers Union (NFU)
  • Yorkshire Dales Estates group
  • National Game Keeping Association
  • Forestry Commission (FC)
  • Natural England (NE)
  • Environment Agency (EA)
  • Country, Land and Business Association (CLA)
  • The Rivers Trusts

A list of individuals currently representing the groups/organisations is below.

There will be a clear requirement for the group members to consult and maintain contact with a much wider group of farming, environmental and other interested organisations.

Normally, the named individuals must attend the formal meetings. For purposes of consistency substitution is not encouraged but will be necessary from time to time. Any substitutes must be properly briefed and be able to make an equivalent contribution to meeting discussions.

If a suitable substitution is not possible, and the member fails to attend three consecutive meetings (constituting a years non-attendance), the member will be asked to consider leaving the Forum.

Key Outputs

An annual work programme will be prepared by the group setting out each year’s key outputs.


Full meetings of the Forum will take place three times a year. A provisional list of meeting dates and venues will be decided at the first and last meetings of the year. It is proposed that meetings will normally be held in September, January, and May. The group may decide to delegate to additional sub-groups to take forward key items of work, with membership and meetings set as appropriate.


There is normally no formal voting system. Wherever possible, the group works by consensus and, if necessary, reports dissent from the majority position. For items that require a vote quorum will be 75% (16 members) but voting can be by proxy or email and a minimum of 2 weeks notice of any vote will be given.

Operational Roles

The Chair of the Forum will be appointed on a three yearly basis to avoid the dominance of any one organisation or individual through a vote. The Chair facilitates the Forum’s formal business. The current Chair is Neil Heseltine (farmer representative Malhamdale/YDNPA Member).


The Secretariat circulates agendas, and takes and circulates minutes for the Forum. The Secretariat is currently provided by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Representing the Yorkshire Dales Farming and Land Management Forum

Any member of the Forum may, with the Forum’s agreement, represent the Forum at external meetings and consultations, subject to the following conditions:

  • they make clear that they are acting on behalf of the Yorkshire Dales Farming and Land Management Forum, and if doing so puts them at variance with the views of their own organisation they state this as appropriate;
  • they ensure that their contribution is representative of the Forum’s consensus view, not just that of their own organisation;
  • they undertake to report back to the Forum as required.

List of current representatives for the various groups/organisations:


  • Neil Heseltine – farmer member and Member / Chair of the YDNPA

Farmer representatives:

  • Far NW area (Orton) – Stephen Lord
  • Cumbria Dales – Harry Hutchinson, Roger Sedgewick, Carol Moffat
  • Southern Dales – John Metcalfe, Garry Schofield, Neil Heseltine, Anthony Bradley
  • Northern Dales – Martin Coates, James Hodgson, Matthew Bell, Raymond Calvert, Matthew Barker, Allen Kirkbride.


  • NE: Richard Dimon
  • FC: Joost Van Schijndel
  • EA: Iain McDonell
  • CLA: Lucinda Douglas
  • NFU: James Copeland / Nicolle Hamilton
  • The Farmer Network: Carol Moffat
  • The Rivers Trust – Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust (on behalf of) – Charlotte Simons
  • Yorkshire Dales Estates Group – Adrian Thornton-Berry
  • National Gamekeepers Association – Ian Sleightholme
  • Agents – John Akrigg, Paul Arkle


  • Forum lead officer: Helen Keep
  • Policy lead: Adrian Shepherd
  • Secretariat: Vanessa Jackson
  • Advisers – Tony Serjeant (wildlife), Nicola Child (trees and woodlands)
  • Tarja Wilson, Jane Le Cocq, Hannah Fawcett, Laura Mealin (farm conservation)