Fragile beauty spots named for key investment and protection

A rural setting for Castle Howard's Mausoleum, high among the Howardian Hills
A rural setting for Castle Howard's Mausoleum, high among the Howardian Hills
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LONG-TERM proposals have been drawn up to protect and enhance some of Yorkshire’s most important and fragile landscapes without jeopardising enterprise and the multi-million pound tourism industry.

A draft report has been drawn up for North Yorkshire which singles out several parts of the vast county for special protection and proposed spending.

Details of the proposals are contained in the 40-page North Yorkshire and York Local Nature Partnership Strategy, which is now out for public consultation.

People and organisations across North Yorkshire are now being urged to have their say on how the county’s natural environment can best be protected and enjoyed.

People have until March 9 to comment on the partnership’s views.

The LNP is one of 48 in England set up to “embed the value of the environment in local decisions to support healthier people and a thriving economy”.

One of its keys aims is to ensure that areas of the greatest wildlife value are protected.

Improving the health of inhabitants is also a priority along with encouraging environment-based enterprises – such farming, forestry, and mineral extraction – to conduct their businesses in ways which benefit the natural environment whilst supporting the local economy.

Partnership bosses will identify where work is needed on the ground, and what can be done to make those carrying out the work more efficient, co-ordinated and effective.

The Partnership’s experts have already identified seven “rural landscape priority areas” where the work will be focused initially.

They are:

Long Preston Wet Grassland Project – an existing scheme to enhance the river Ribble and floodplain with sustainable farming.

River Swale Landscape Project, a proposed scheme to promote ‘green tourism’ and improve access.

River Ure Landscape Project, a proposed project to enhance 
and promote the river as a “brand”.

Selby Landscape Project, a proposed plan to create a “unique and inspiring landscape”.

The Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a landscape plan promoting sustainable development.

The Vale of Pickering Landscape Project, an existing project promoting tourism to the “hidden vale.”

The North York Moors National Park and Coast, a plan to promote opportunities for communities, businesses and visitors.

The report says that “large sums of money” are likely to be needed to achieve significant results in the priority areas.

The aim will be to bring in large sums from organisations with track records for providing substantial sums, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, LIFE+ and Water Framework Directive funding.

One of the roles of the partnership will be to identify funding opportunities for local projects in the priority areas.

Ian Fielding, the chairman of the partnership and assistant director of waste and countryside services for North Yorkshire County Council, is urging people to comment on the draft report.

He said: “It has been a busy and exciting time for the partnership. A wide range of organisations have been working together to establish a strategy which will help positively change the way we manage our countryside for the future, for the benefit of the wildlife and people reliant upon it.

“We’ve also been making links with the Local Enterprise Partnership and Health and Wellbeing Board to identify mutual priorities and opportunities to work together.”

Following the consultation, views and comments will be used to inform the final strategy and the LNP will be formally launched this spring with work beginning in the priority areas.

The draft report concludes: “Activity will focus on the priority areas, led by the relevant champions.

“This work will aim to make the high level targets more meaningful to groups working on the ground, and help them understand the benefits their work has as part of a bigger vision for the area.

“It is hoped the work will lead to a series of cohesive landscapes across North Yorkshire and York.”

The strategy will be reviewed after five years to see if the objectives and targets are still relevant, according to the report.

The consultation is seeking views and comments on the strategy document until March 9.

To find out more visit 
www.nypartnerships.org.uk/lnp or contact 01609 533240.