Lakes and Dales decisions create largest area of English National Park land

Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lancashire will share the largest area of almost continuous National Park land following the decision to extend two of England’s most celebrated National Parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.

The announcement by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss today will see the Yorkshire Dales grow by nearly 24% and Lake District by 3%. This will virtually join up these beautiful spaces, boosting rural tourism in the area, supporting rural businesses and potentially adding millions more to the £4 billion already generated by visitors to our stunning National Parks each year.

The announcement, which will protect these landscapes for future generations, was made as the Secretary of State visited Wensleydale Creamery, based in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and home of the protected Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese – one of many successful businesses within National Parks.

Commenting on the decision to extend the Parks Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss, said:

The Dales and the Lakes have some of our country’s finest landscapes, beautiful vistas and exciting wildlife. They are part of our national identity.

I am delighted to be able to announce this extension which will join these two unique National Parks and protect even more space for generations to come.

National Parks are fabulous national assets that welcome over 90 million tourists and contribute to our vibrant rural economy – we are committed to helping them thrive.

The announcement builds on the Secretary of State’s speech last week setting out her vision for a 25 year Environment Plan, and is the first step in delivering this government’s manifesto commitment of stronger protections for natural landscapes to ensure Britain has the best natural environment anywhere.

By protecting and promoting access to wide swathes of rural England, and providing attractive places to undertake physical activity and environmental volunteering – or simply take in the view – the extensions will help us to make the country the healthiest and most beautiful place in the world to live, work and bring up a family. The move could also serve to strengthen the next generation’s connection with nature through the environmental activities available for families and children.

Also commenting on the extensions Natural England Chairman Andrew Sells added:

I very much welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to extend the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks in line with the recommendations made by Natural England.

The Chancellor’s Northern Powerhouse depends upon the ‘natural capital’ provided by our iconic National Parks. They represent some of England’s most treasured natural assets. With international appeal, their stunning landscapes stand out as a beacon to the people who come to enjoy them whilst their intrinsic value drives the communities, businesses and biodiversity they support. Extending these today confirms their great importance and provides them with the recognition they richly deserve.

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