THE Yorkshire Dales National Park has rushed out a report to confirm that it is, in fact, one of the leading areas in the country for protecting its Sites of Scientific Importance - SSIs - which are causing serious concern in other areas.
As we reported yesterday (see News), English Nature has surveyed thousands of SSIs and found that nearly half of them did not come up to standards laid down by the government.
There was particular concern, said the agency, about the maintenance of SSIs in hill farming areas.
Within hours of the English Nature report, however, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) issued a statement pointing out that in this area, the standard of upkeep on SSIs was well above the national average.
In fact, it said, English Nature had gone out of its way to praise work in the Dales, where some 65% of SSIs were considered either "favourable" or "recovering" - compared to a national average of only 42%.
Park chairman Steve Macaré, commented: "We warmly welcome this report from English Nature. It is a testament to those Dales' farmers who continue to farm in a way that brings tremendous benefit to the area - maintaining the special environment of the National Park on which so much of the local economy depends."