Residents and visitors agree on national park priorities

Residents of and visitors to the North York Moors are in agreement about what the top three priorities should be for the organisation that looks after the National Park.

Maintaining paths and bridleways, protecting the area’s wildlife and habitats and giving grants and advice to farmers and landowners to look after farmland, moorland and coast were rated very important by both groups in a consultation carried out by the North York Moors National Park Authority (NYMNPA).

More than 1,500 people responded to the questionnaire in which they were asked to rate services provided by the NYMNPA with a score ranging from not important to very important.

The results of the consultation, along with other information, will be used to inform decisions about future services for the North York Moors in light of the 26.5% cut to the NYNPA’s grant.

Budget and service proposals along with a revised business plan will be presented to the authority’s members at a meeting this September.

For respondents with a disability or health issue, providing a bus service to the North York Moors and maintaining toilets, car parks and picnic areas were also classed as very important.

The services with the lowest overall score were grants for renewable energy projects although people aged 25 and under rated this as very important providing a website and publications and investing more in planning and enforcement services.

Julie Lawrence, director of Information, Education and Visitor Services, said: “I would like to thank all of those who took part in the consultation.

“Many also provided additional comments and thoughts which I can assure you will be taken on board.

“The consultation is just one of several discussions and exercises we are carrying out to inform what will be difficult decisions around future work areas for the authority.”

The authority has so far been able to protect its own grants to communities and individuals. Decisions on spending reductions will be made over the next six months only after it has assured itself that all possible genuine efficiencies have been achieved.

A table outlining the results from the consultation can be found at: www.northyorkmoors.org.uk.