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Forum held on next National Park Management Plan

Breakout group at the 2024 Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan annual forum. In the photo (l-r) - Angela Jones of Westmorland and Furness Council, Sally Learoyd of Campaign to Protect Rural England and Elliot

More than 30 organisations met in Settle earlier this month to thrash out priorities for the next five-year Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan. 

Among those at the half-day event, held at Victoria Hall on 7 May, were parish councillors, officers from wildlife trusts and rivers trusts, and representatives from moorland and business groups.

The event was hosted by the National Park Management Plan Partnership, which is responsible for updating the Management Plan to cover the period from April 2025 to March 2030.

Discussions were based on six new evidence reports, assessing progress towards each of the six long-term ambitions for that were set in the current 2019-2024 National Park Management Plan.

Gary Smith, deputy chief executive officer of the National Park Authority, told the gathering: “A majority of the 49 objectives in the plan have been achieved or are on course to be achieved this year.  Good progress has been made particularly towards the plan’s ambitions for the landscape, economy and a welcoming experience for visitors.

“We’ve also seen progress on the partnership’s ambitions for climate and communities; things are going in the right direction in these two areas, but not as fast as we would want them to. 

“The one area which stands out as not great is the ambition for wildlife.  We’ve seen some fantastic individual projects but overall the evidence shows that wildlife in the National Park is still declining.”

Further brief presentations were made, including on the results of a public consultation held earlier this year, before representatives were divided into discussion groups where opinions on priorities were shared.   

Chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan Partnership, David Sharrod, addressed the meeting. 

He said:  “I think the Yorkshire Dales National Park has something to offer the world.  Here we have a place that can begin to offer solutions to the huge problems we all hear about and face: climate change, biodiversity loss, social problems, the economy.    The next management plan will set out what we are going to do together.”

A summary of the event – including the top priorities identified by participants – has been published on the Authority’s website. 

An updated Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan, which in effect will serve as a work programme for 2025 to 2030, will be published by March next year.

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