A draft list of ‘priority species’ for the Yorkshire Dales National Park has been debated today.
Priority species are those considered to be in need of ‘additional, bespoke conservation work’.
Twelve birds are on the list including curlew and swift, which are respectively regarded as the sound of spring and summer in the Dales. Birds of the moor such as hen harrier and black grouse are also in the twelve.
Ten mammals, ten plants, eight butterflies and moths and one other animal – the white clawed crayfish – complete the draft list of 41 priority species.
The National Park Authority, which met this morning, endorsed the approach being taken to identify priority species. It also agreed to work in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales Biodiversity Forum, and the local farming and woodland forums, to develop a final list for the Yorkshire Dales Nature Recovery Plan, to be published in June 2023.
The Yorkshire Dales Nature Recovery Plan will set out a long term vision for wildlife conservation in the National Park. It will succeed ‘Nature in the Dales’, the Biodiversity Action Plan which covered the period 2010-20.
The draft list of 41 priority species is markedly smaller than the list of 122 priority species in Nature in the Dales. The Authority’s Senior Wildlife Conservation Officer, Tony Serjeant, told the meeting that only species with nationally significant numbers in the National Park ought to be included. He said conservation needed to be concentrated on species where a real difference could be made and monitored.
The Member Champion for the Natural Environment at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Mark Corner, said: “Owing to the efforts of people such as farmers and moorland managers, some species are doing better in the Yorkshire Dales National Park than in most other areas of the country. But we are keenly aware that the objective we and our partners set on nature recovery in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan is not going to be met. We need urgently to address the ‘nature emergency’ and help to reverse the declines in wildlife locally and nationally.”
He added: “It must be stressed that the draft list of priority species is not a list of most important or favourite species in the National Park. Rather, these are the species we and our partners have identified as most in need of additional, bespoke conservation work.
“I’d invite people to look out for the birds, bats and mammals on the list. People don’t have to own or manage large areas of land to improve the prospects for some of these species. In some communities residents are installing nest boxes for swifts and encouraging house martins to nest. There is something that every person who lives in, works in or visits the Dales can do to prevent these iconic species from disappearing.”
The final report on Nature in the Dales was published in January this year.