Kirkby Stephen & District Walkers are Welcome are pleased to learn that the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, has authorised the long awaited Northern Extension to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
In January 2012, Natural England made two Variation Orders for proposed extensions to the Lake District National Park (‘LDNP’) and the Yorkshire Dales National Park (‘YDNP’). Whilst there was 90% in total or partly-qualified support submitted during the consultation period because of opposition by District and County Councils an enquiry was held in July 2013.
The Secretary of State said that the Inspector’s recommendations should be accepted in their entirety, subject to two minor exceptions. The full Inspector’s report has been released and includes:
‘the evidence produced to the inquiry, especially in the statements of the two NPAs, shows that these bodies are far more likely to be able to deliver what have been variously described as strategic ‘landscape-led’,‘multi-purpose’, and ‘joined-up’ long-term programmes and initiatives of the type likely to assist the necessary measures across all aspects of the two NP purposes... This is an indication of the ways in which, even in times of public sector cuts, NPAs will be better able to maintain a clearer focus on NP purposes, notwithstanding that
their overall resources may be under pressure.’
Interestingly this is also quoted:
‘Public Rights of Way (PROWs) provide the main ways in which people enjoy the special qualities of National Parks and are crucial to the second National Park purpose (IR 3.120). NPAs have a better record of regular maintenance of PROWs (IR 3.126, 3.196).’
Many people had suggested that there would be a conflict of identity putting new parts of Cumbria into the Yorkshire Dales National Park and there were suggestions of including ‘Westmorland Dales’ in the name. However, the Secretary of State does not ‘consider that there is any merit in a name change’. ‘The YDNPA is already committed to localised marketing and branding to highlight individual dales’ names and local heritage. For example the YDNPA considers that it would be able to reinforce the local Westmorland identity of YDN and YDW by extending what it already does in promoting a ‘sense of place’ and engaging with local people about how they see themselves, including in terms of branding and identity.’
The Secretary of State has concluded that she is satisfied that the statutory requirements set out in section 5 of NPAC 1949 are established and the Order will take effect from 1 August 2016.
The new Northern Extension will include the Howgill Fells, Mallerstang Valley and parts of the surrounding area including Ash Fell and the station vicinity within the Kirkby Stephen Parish boundary. It is hoped that Kirkby Stephen will become the northern gateway to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. KS WaW look forward to working further with the YDNP while remaining totally committed to their excellent relationship with Cumbria County Council’s Countryside Access Department.