Visitors enjoying the beauty of The Peak District National Park are in danger of destroying it warns chairman

The biggest challenge facing the Peak District National Park is the balance between recreation and preservation of nature as visitor figures top 13m each year.

Chairman of the PDNP, Andy McCloy says the pressure is intense and it is almost at the point where people are destroying the thing they have come to enjoy.

The issue was exacerbated by the pandemic with increased crowds, littering, car parking, fires and fly-tipping.

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As the Peak District National Park comes to the end of its 70th anniversary year celebrations and looks to the next, he says: “The on-going challenge is balancing recreation with nature conservation - that is the big pressure that is getting more intense.

The biggest challenge facing the Peak District National Park as it moves into its next 70 years is the balance between recreation and preservation of nature as visitor figures top 13m each year says chair, Andrew McCloy.

“We were set up to protect and conserve the landscape and promote it to the public. There is a fine-line between coming and destroying the thing that you have come to enjoy.

“Along with the Yorkshire Dales National Park we have been campaigning to get disposable barbecues banned.

“We have a huge area of moorland, the Dark Peak, where we have spent millions of pounds on restoring the damaged peat and it literally goes up in smoke because somebody left a barbecue smouldering.”

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It wants to reduce the amount of traffic by promoting bus and rail travel as well as setting up new community travel projects; raising awareness of climate change to visitors , encouraging a greener foot-print; and to start a process of nature recovery.

This involves working with farmers and landowners on creating wild-life ponds, leaving some fields to nature and looking at different ways to deal with stock and spraying - but in a way that is beneficial to both parties given the current pressures on farmers and food producers.

Mr McCloy added: “It is a massive privilege and responsibility but I am hugely proud to be chair of the Peak District National Park.

“We have come to the end of the 70th anniversary year. It is about celebrating but I am all for looking forward to the next 70 years. How do we keep the National Park in a state future generations will enjoy as much as we did?”