A hill farmer and former rugby union player from Malhamdale has been elected Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.
Neil Heseltine has been a Member of the Authority for six years and is one of four Parish Council-appointees on the board.
He is an upland farmer, producing beef, lamb and wool at Hill Top Farm, alongside ‘public goods’ such as wildflower meadows and pastures rich in biodiversity.
He was elected Chairman at today’s annual general meeting of the Authority and succeeded Carl Lis, who stepped down after serving a total of 12 years in the role. Addressing the full Authority meeting, Mr Heseltine highlighted the importance of continual improvement.
“I’d like to thank members for their support. Becoming chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is a huge honour,” he said. “I’m motivated by what’s outside the window – the Yorkshire Dales National Park – the landscape, the environment, the wildlife, and the people who live in that landscape, work in its environment and who visit.
“It’s important that as an organisation we recognise the collective work that has gone on before and strive to improve. That was something that resonated with me from my sporting life, where the principles of continually striving to be better are the same.”
“I’m not suggesting that’s going to be easy, we’re in the midst of one of the biggest challenges of our lives, but with that challenge comes opportunity and new ways of working.”
The Chairman of the National Park Authority is a key leadership role. Mr Heseltine will speak for the Authority; guide its work; maintain political links with local councils and other agencies; and support the Authority in fulfilling its statutory purposes.