The UK Government has today approved longstanding plans to add large new areas of land to both the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. The news has been welcomed by conservationists and the park authorities.
As a result of the boundary changes 188 square miles of countryside will gain National Park status. The area covered by the Yorkshire Dales National Park will expand by nearly 24 per cent, while the Lake District National Park grows by three per cent.
The borders of the two parks will now meet for the first time, at the M6 Motorway.
From next August the new look larger Yorkshire Dales National Park will include parts of the Orton Fells, the northern Howgill Fells, Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang to the north and, to the west, Barbon, Middleton, Casterton and Leck Fells, the River Lune, and part of Firbank Fell and other fells to the west of the River Lune. Meanwhile just across the M6 corridor, the Lake District National Park will absorb big bits of Birkbeck Fells Common, Whinfell Common, Helsington Barrows to Sizergh Fell, an area north of Sizergh Castle and part of the Lyth valley.
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Chairman Peter Charlesworth said:
'We are thrilled and delighted these stunning landscapes have been recognised as worthy of national park status. The decision is particularly welcome after the tremendous work of so many people from these communities who fought so hard for national park status. It is marvellous that, even at a time of financial austerity, Government have recognised the equality of these landscapes and designated as national park.'
Douglas Chalmers, Director of Friends of the Lake District, welcomed the decision, which came after years of campaigning and public consultation.
'This really is a momentous decision' he said, 'and one that reflects the wishes of many people. And now the real work starts. Everyone has been saying that designating this land will bring additional economic, environmental and community benefits to the area, and we now have to make sure that this happens.'
'In the Secretary of State’s announcement, Mrs Truss said, “National parks are fabulous national assets that welcome over 90 million tourists and contribute to our vibrant rural economy – we are committed to helping them thrive." It is reassuring to have such a positive statement on Government’s support for National Parks going into the future.'
'Let’s savour this moment, but then start working to ensure that those in the areas start to see the benefits.'