In public sector terms, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is a small organisation and this is reflected in the size of our carbon footprint. Nonetheless, it is incumbent on the Authority to try to set a local and national example by putting our own house in order.
The Authority started a programme of actively reducing its carbon emissions in 2006, and by March 2021 had reduced emissions by 74%.
The Authority recently adopted the following challenging objective:
“By 2030, total greenhouse gas emissions from our operations will have been reduced by at least 95% compared to 2005; and, the annual carbon savings from woodland planting that we have directly funded will be at least 30 times our annual emissions.”
What the authority has been doing:
- Solar panels have been installed at Colvend office and cottage: Aysgarth National Park Centre; Yoredale office; Dales Countryside Museum and Malham National Park Centre.
- Air source heat pumps have been installed at Aysgarth and Malham National Park Centres.
- LED lighting has been upgraded at Aysgarth National Park Centre; Dales Countryside Museum; Malham National Park Centre, Yoredale and Grassington
The importance of peat as a store of carbon has now been recognised and restoration and conservation work is being undertaken throughout the UK.
The National Park’s peatlands are a nationally-important carbon store, covering around 55,000 ha and up to 7m deep. But much is in a poor condition as a result of artificial drainage that was installed in the 1970s and 1980s.
Restoring all degraded blanket bog/deep peat habitat to ecologically and hydrologically functioning bog is one of the objectives agreed by the Authority and a wide range of local partner organisations in the National Park Management Plan 2019-24.
The Yorkshire Peat Partnership is led by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, and supported by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Natural England, National Trust, Environment Agency and North York Moors National Park Authority. It was formed to work with moorland owners to help restore and then conserve the unique and valuable upland peatland habitats across large swathes of Yorkshire.
Since 2009 the Yorkshire Peat Partnership has restored over 20,000 ha of degraded peatland in the National Park, including 414 ha of degraded peatland restored at Summer Lodge, Swaledale; and New House and Stake Moss, Bishopdale.
The Great North Bog – An ambitious, grand-scale peatland restoration initiative being developed by the North Pennines AONB Partnership, the Yorkshire Peat Partnership and the Moors for the Future Partnership – it is a landscape approach to restoration across nearly 7000 square kilometres of upland peat in the Protected Landscapes of northern England.