THE Yorkshire Dales National Park has received a New Year cash bonus with the announcement that its Government grant has been increased by £320,000.
The park authority will now receive £4,906,870 for the new financial year beginning in April, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael announced at the weekend, saying:
"As well as ensuring that each national park will receive an inflationary increase on their core grant, I am providing £200,000 per authority to continue the very successful Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).
"On top of this, I am increasing funding for the parks to help them prepare for land to be opened for public access under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000."
Richard Burnett, YDNPA Head of Finance and Resources, said: "We are very pleased that the Minister continues to recognise the vital role of the National Park Authority.
"We welcome the increase in funding for the implementation of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. It should enable us to meet our responsibilities in carrying out the requirements of the legislation.
"At present the public only has 'open access' to four per cent of the National Park but, from May, that figure will rise to 63 per cent.
"The money announced today will help us to ensure that this major change is introduced smoothly and managed effectively for the benefit of residents and visitors to the park alike."
Mr Burnett also welcomed the £200,000 for the SDF - the same amount as last year.
"This will enable us to continue to find new ways to support local communities, jobs and the environment," he said.