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Snapshot on the health of the Yorkshire Dales

Grassington, 6 March, 2006

The condition of public footpaths and listed buildings in the Yorkshire Dales is improving and the population is continuing to increase, according to the latest snapshot of the National Park and its communities.  

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) has just published an up-dated report on the ‘State of the Park’ which contains a wealth of information from many different organisations about the environmental, social and economic well-being of the National Park and its communities.

The report looks at the outcomes of the Yorkshire Dales Management Plan, The Yorkshire Dales: Today and Tomorrow, which covered the period 2000 to 2005.

Among other things, it reveals that:

  • there has been a huge increase in the area of land in the Park that is being managed and funded through agri-environment and conservation agreements, which in turn result in conservation or recreational benefits.
  • traffic levels in the summer have remained level but flows outside the peak season show steady increases.
  • housing in the National Park is becoming less affordable as the gap between prices and incomes grows
  • the condition of public rights of way remains generally good and is improving.
  • unemployment levels are exceptionally low but income levels remain below the average for Great Britain.
  • the population of the Dales is increasing and there are slightly more young people living in the National Park.
  • the number of important nature conservation sites that are in ‘favourable’ condition has increased substantially.

Carl Lis, Chairman of the YDNPA, said: “Making good decisions about the future of the National Park depends on having good information. That means gathering clear, objective evidence rather than relying on anecdote and opinion.  

“The State of the Park report shows us how much progress has been made in implementing the Management Plan and provides information about what challenges still need to be tackled.”

The Yorkshire Dales Management Plan was published in 2000 following wide consultation and set out an ambitious vision for the future of the National Park – a vision shared by those who live and work in it.

It also identified a number of key issues for the future of the National Park, and some specific objectives that many different organisations and individuals have since been working to achieve.

Carl added: “As the State of the Park Report shows, much has changed since 2000. Few will forget the devastating impact of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001 which highlighted so strongly the inter-dependence between agriculture, the wider rural economy and the attraction of the Park to visitors. So, while the long-term aspirations set out in the Management Plan still hold true, it is important that it adapts to changing circumstances.

“It should focus on the delivery of ‘National Park purposes’ – conserving the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park, and promoting understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities.

“However, achieving these would be impossible without thriving local communities and a strong economy. While social and economic issues are covered in other plans – notably those prepared by the District and County Councils – the Management Plan will take account of these and include some issues that are specific to the National Park. “

Since 2000, the Authority has carried out consultations with local communities as part of its ‘Area Actions’ programme, asking what the most important issues are for residents. All these views will be taken into account in updating the Management Plan later this year.

A full copy of the State of the Park Report 2006 is available on the Authority’s website or by calling us on 0870 1 666333. The list of special qualities is also available on the website.

Monitoring the state of the National Park requires a joint effort by all of the partners involved in preparing the Management Plan. The Authority is especially grateful to the following organisations for providing data for this report: the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; English Nature; the Environment Agency; North Yorkshire and Cumbria County Councils; Craven, Richmondshire and South Lakeland District Councils; and the Countryside Agency.


For more information please call the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's Media Office on 01756 751616. Alternatively, please email

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