Why levelling up matters to Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, AONBs and rurla areas left behind by Lodnon Government – The Yorkshire Post says

YORKSHIRE HAS every reason to be proud of Nidderdale and the Howardian Hills – two of the finest Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in Britain.

Special status that Ministers could soon bestow upon the meandering Yorkshire Wolds, the picture postcard scenery does, however, mask deep pockets of poverty.

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Just like the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and other national parks, the London government continues to pay lip service to the rural economy. As Mark Tufnell, president of the CLA, wrote on these pages a week ago, the Levelling Up White Paper totally neglects those countryside communities that feel just as much “left behind” as those urban areas now receiving political attention.

Nidderdale is one of the county's Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

And while the creation of a new North Yorkshire super-council, and potential for England’s largest county to be led by a directly-elected mayor, offers an opportunity to reappraise the leadership of this region’s rural heartlands, the concerns expressed today by community leaders in Nidderdale and the Howardian Hills are valid.

For, just as Whitehall appears remote – both politically and geographically – to the needs of Yorkshire and the North, there are communities in the AONB that fear the worst when North Yorkshire County Council merges with seven existing district councils on the patch.

Yet, while North Yorkshire leader Carl Les does, to his credit, recognise these concerns, and has responded accordingly, he still needs to persuade the London government that it should be doing far more to empower the rural economy.

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Carl Les is the leader of North Yorkshire County Council.