THE Yorkshire Dales National Park today issued its first ever "state of the park" survey - which revealed much good news but also areas where improvements are needed.
The survey covers 43 "quality of life" indicators chosen during last year to measure the health of the environment, economy and local communities in the National Park.
Some things were good: many field barns are in better condition than they were 10 years ago; a survey by the Council for the Preservation of Rural England had praised the park as an "oasis of peace and tranquillity;" and greenfield house building had dropped dramatically between 1999 an 2000.
However, the report also highlighted a number of areas of concern, including: the changing face of agriculture, with fewer and bigger farms carrying more sheep; the increasing and ageing population and the dramatic increase in area's house prices.
Clive Kirkbride, environmental policy officer at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: "The purpose of the 'State of the Park Report 2001' is to establish a baseline of where we stand today.
"Having the report means that in the future we will be able to identify changes in the quality of life for the National Park's communities and changes in the state of the local environment. In turn, this will help the authority and others, such as the district councils, to identify which of our programmes are working and those areas where new activities and funding are needed."
To get a copy of the 'State of the Park Report 2001' contact the environmental policy officer, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Colvend, Hebden Road, Grassington, North Yorkshire BD23 5LB; Tel: (01756) 752748; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.