With two weeks to go to the end of the consultation on proposals to extend the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, Natural England is encouraging people from across the country to air their views. The consultation began nearly three months ago and members of the public have until Friday 17th March 2010 to give their thoughts on the important boundary changes that are being proposed.
Areas such as the Northern Howgill Fells, and the Birkbeck Fells to Whinfell, are among several very special landscapes in the area that Natural England has identified as candidates for consideration for National Park status owing to their natural beauty and the opportunities they afford for open air recreation. Consultees are also asked to consider whether, if the Orton Fells are designated, they should be included within the Lake District National Park or the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Extending the National Parks has been talked about for many years and work on these particular proposals began in 2005. Over the last three months, large numbers of people have participated in the consultation, in writing and via the project website, www.lakestodaleslandscapes.org.uk. Many of the respondents live in and around the parks, but the consultation is a national one, open to anyone.
Although the consultation process has prompted debate about name changes to the expanded National Parks, Natural England is not putting forward proposals for any name change. The consultation is about whether the proposed new areas are of sufficient landscape quality to merit National Park designation and will help inform Natural England’s boundary recommendations to government. Natural England will reflect the views people have expressed about this or any other relevant issue to the Secretary of State for the Environment, who will make his own determination of any changes to the boundaries or the consequences of such changes.
Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England, said:
“The Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks form an essential part of our environmental heritage. Potential changes to their boundaries are clearly important and we would not take such a major step without giving as many people as possible the opportunity to scrutinise our proposals. These landscapes are national treasures and it is vital that the whole country takes part in the debate on where the National Park boundaries should lie. The deadline for consultation is approaching and we would like to hear from anyone with an interest in the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales who has still to contact us.”
You can respond to the consultation via the project website www.lakestodaleslandscapes.org.uk which contains additional supporting documents, including detailed maps and a list of frequently asked questions. You can also request further details by telephoning 0161 273 8235, e-mailing email@example.com, or writing to Lakes to Dales Landscape Designation Project, Natural England, Bridgewater House, 60 Whitworth Street, Manchester M1 6LT.