'˜Biodiversity of National Parks is not good enough', Dales authority warns

A more ambitious agenda for wildlife in National Parks is needed, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has warned.

The quality of biodiversity in National Parks should be exemplary, according to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. Picture by James Hardisty.

No real difference exists between the biodiversity in many parts of National Parks and non-protected landscapes, the authority said in a stark response to the independent review of designated landscapes.

One remedy to flagging biodiiversity in protected landscapes is a radical new approach to agri-environment schemes for farmers, the park authority said as it called for a government re-think.

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In the authority’s submission to the review, led by writer Julian Glover, members argued that National Parks should be better places for nature.

“The sad truth is that it is possible to stand in many parts of our designated areas and be unable to spot any discernible difference in biodiversity compared with non-designated countryside,” the authority said.

“More than any other places in the country, National Parks should be bigger and better places for nature. The quality of biodiversity and wildlife should be exemplary.”

The submission calls for National Park authorities to be given a key role in shaping post-Brexit farm payment schemes, stating: “In the case of the Yorkshire Dales, farmers and landowners play a significant and central role in maintaining the National Park.

“We believe that National Park Authorities should be involved in the direction, co-design and delivery of the new environmental land management system.”

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is currently at the forefront of pioneering trials that could help to shape a new environmental land management scheme for farmers.

Nineteen livestock farmers in Wensleydale have been taking part in a pilot scheme which offers payments based on the success they have in managing meadows or turning pastures into good habitats for wading birds.

In August, the Government agreed to provide funding to exten the scheme for a further two years.