The Yorkshire Dales National Park - what's in a name?
Local concerns are increasing about the possibility that the Yorkshire Dales National Park, long considered to be one of the jewels of the county's countryside, will be renamed.
The change in identity is being mooted as part of discussions on boundary changes that would extend the National Park into parts of Cumbria and Lancashire.
Natural England announced a public consultation on the proposed extensions to both the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks in December 2009. The consultation period, which finishes in March 2010, is seeking views on whether areas such as the Northern Howgill Fells and the Birkbeck Fells to Whinfell should be given National Park status and if so where should be the boundaries.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park currently covering an area of 1,762 square kilometres, straddles the central Pennines in North Yorkshire and Cumbria. If the proposed extensions go ahead, the Northern Howgill Fells, Mallerstang and Wild Boar Fell, Middleton, Barbon and Leck Fells, Firbank Fell and the Lower Lune Valley would all be included.
A member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Mr Blackie, speaking recently said:
"There must be some geographic anchor if we are to keep the Yorkshire Dales special. The scenery is iconic and is the very definition of what Yorkshire is about."
"If we do not protect the name and identity, then we are doing the people of Yorkshire a great disservice."
Poul Christensen, Chair of Natural England said when announcing the consultation:
"It is fitting that, 60 years since the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act came into being, we have a unique opportunity to look at a major expansion of two of England's most cherished protected areas."
"We are looking to consult as widely as possible on these proposals to ensure that an extension to the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks can work with the people and businesses of the area and deliver the many public benefits that people are entitled to expect from National Park designation."
All boundary changes are subject to final approval by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
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