Protected Landscapes 2019

Capt. 'Bob''s picture

"Among the main issues highlighted in the authority’s response to the review, being led by writer and ex-Government advisor Julian Glover, who visited the North York Moors in September, was the disparity between its  powers to look after the landscape and buildings and its impotence to protect wildlife.

An authority spokesman said: “The current contrast between our extensive and accepted powers under planning legislation and our lack of statutory powers to protect wildlife is extreme.

“A lack of powers to ensure positive change happens means that, even if, say, after 20 years of the most extensive consultation it was agreed by all parties bar one that a certain activity should take place to save a critical species, the national park authority has, in general, no power to make the activity happen.

“This contrasts with, for instance, the powers other local authorities have to deal with matters even including abandoned shopping trolleys where there is specific statutory provision...”


"“While it is quite possible for a national park authority to have such powers, on wildlife the report suggests the panel should consider whether powers should be transferred or shared with the park authority.  “We are not trying to say we should have all these powers, but that we should have some to ensure that our management plan does happen.”  Member Jeremy Walker said the implication of the recommendation was that other bodies' enforcement of wildlife protection was not good enough. He warned the authority against arguing for extra powers without having financial back-up.  Another member, farmer David Hugill, said he had become increasingly concerned about plans for the introduction of some species.

He said: “We have just had a failed attempt to bring lynxes back. There’s calls for wolves’ release in the Highlands, and for some reason Greater London, to curb growth and also brown bears to control deer. We can play a crucial part in any future consultations on the introduction of species.”   Ahead of members agreeing to call for the review to consider granting national parks some wildlife protecting powers, member Janet Frank said: “If we can’t look after the animals in the park I don’t see a point in us being here.”"

"The government’s 25-year Environment Plan states it will commission a ‘Hobhouse review’ of national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The UK’s first national parks were created by an Act of Parliament in 1949 following the 1947 Hobhouse Report, which remains the basis for most protected landscape designation in England.  It states: “This will consider coverage of designations, how designated areas deliver their responsibilities, how designated areas are financed, and whether there is scope for expansion.“It will also consider opportunities to enhance the environment in existing designations, and expand on the existing eight-point plan for national parks to connect more people with the natural environment.”

Chairman of the North York Moors National Park Authority Jim Bailey described the review as “a welcome step”. He said it was important to check that all areas of the national park were still fit for purpose and there was nothing missing 66 years after it was created. Mr Bailey said considering changes to the park’s boundaries would prove controversial, costly and time-consuming, but other work could include schemes such a “a nod to the historic value of Whitby” .