This has been illustrated by the increased frequency of letters to The Yorkshire Post from readers who have been appealing for the Wolds to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in addition to the Howardian Hills and Nidderdale.
And the benefits would be two-fold – increased support for farmers to protect the rolling landscapes and a greater onus on new developments reflecting the area’s charming character.
As such, the challenge today is making sure that this county mobilises sufficient public support to make sure that Environment Secretary George Eustice honours today’s undertaking as Defra and Natural England set out their intentions.
Equally, Mr Eustice’s undertakings to farmers and landowners need to go further and involve the wider rural economy. The reason is this. By granting AONB status, he will be hoping more tourists visit an enchanting area that has featured in many of David Hockney’s great works of art. Yet, in doing so, they risk damaging the very natural environment that Mr Eustice seeks to protect if there’s not a more robust public transport network in place for the wider area.
What better time, therefore, to hold a feasibility study into the reopening of the former railway between York and Beverley while, at the same time, looking at what more can be done to improve bus services and cycle facilities across the Wolds? It’s called joined-up government.
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