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Partners Working Well to Care For National Park

Increased tree planting, funding for nearly 40 local community and economic projects and increased support for environmental work by farmers are among the successes of a new plan for the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The National Park Management Plan was launched last year by a partnership of 14 organisations, which include district and county councils, the Environment Agency, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and Natural England, as well as representatives of local farmers, landowners and tourism businesses.

Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership

It sets out 53 objectives the partnership wants to be achieve in the next five years to keep the area special, while helping it to thrive – and progress is monitored by a steering group made up of representatives from the organisations.

National Park Authority Chairman Peter Charlesworth said: “The management plan is a plan for the National Park, not just for the Authority, and, overall, encouraging – and, in some cases, excellent – progress has been made in the first year.

“At the same time, the steering group has identified a few areas of potential concern where there has been less progress than hoped and these will be kept under review.”

One of the objectives in the Plan is to extend the tourism season and get more visitors to stay overnight with the aim of increasing the value of tourism by 20 per cent in real terms by 2020.

Latest figures show that, for 2013, visitor numbers were up by 4.6 per cent on the previous year at 3.5 million and the total number of days they spent here was 4.55 million compared with 4.4 million in 2012. The serviced accommodation sector, which includes bed and breakfast businesses and hotels, saw the biggest increase in visitor numbers – 8.8 per cent up on the previous year.

The economic impact of visitors has increased both in terms of the actual spend and when indexed to 2013 prices. Day visitors generated £104.2m while staying visitors spent £109.3m compared to £96.5m and £103.6m respectively in 2012.

In real terms, the 2013 increase in spend rose by 3.3 per cent compared to 2012.

Susan Briggs, who runs the Dales Tourism Business Network and is a steering group member, said: “The figures for last year are very encouraging and we are hopeful that we can build on the higher profile we have thanks to the Tour de France and encourage more staying visitors – particularly from overseas. We are also currently working on a new action plan designed to increase tourism still further.”

Some of the other achievements in the first year of the management plan include:

  • The Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership received stage 1 approval from English Heritage for a £2.4 million programme to enhance the wider landscape of Ribblesdale and Chapel-le-Dale
  • 250 ‘session places’ were provided to enable local disadvantaged people to undertake activities in the National Park
  • Farmers and landowners entered new Environmental Stewardship agreements covering over 15,000 ha
  • Over 400 ha of woodland has been brought into active management
  • 10 local apprentices have been taken on through the ‘Dales Trainee Scheme’
  • The National Park Authority and district councils funded 39 local economic, social and environmental projects;
  • 90% of the public rights of way are now ‘easy to use’
  • over 100 hectares of native, broad-leaved woodland have been planted
  • 2.6 km of overhead power lines were placed underground through schemes at Ribblehead, Park Rash and Beckermonds.
  • There is now well over 1 mW of installed renewable energy schemes.

Yorkshire Dales

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