Our object is not only to help conserve and enhance the landscape, biodiversity and cultural heritage of the Dales and adjacent areas, but also to promote the sustainable social and economic well-being of the local communities. This is particularly significant in the light of climate breakdown, declining biodiversity, environmental impacts of land uses, unsustainable forms of tourism and the decline of rural areas as viable places for quality jobs, affordable housing and services such as schools and public transport.
We accept the definition of sustainable development set out in the Brundtland Report Our Common Future as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
As part of our efforts to achieve sustainable socio-economic development we strongly support the primary, statutory, national park purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and adjacent areas.
We support the second statutory purpose of promotion of opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of national parks, but acknowledge the importance of the Sandford Principle: “Where conservation and public enjoyment cannot be reconciled by skilful management, conservation should be given priority.” We agree with the 2019 Glover Review that the second purpose “needs to be re-interpreted and qualified because … excessive or unsuitable use may destroy the very qualities which attract people to the parks”.
We are mindful of the precautionary principle, understanding that landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage are valuable in their own rights, and that our actions today are tomorrow’s legacy. All decisions have consequences, and those proposing a change are responsible for demonstrating that there will be no negative effects on the environment.
We support the principles of sustainable tourism as defined by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UN-WTO) in 1988: “Sustainable tourism meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life-support systems.”
Whilst agriculture has the greatest impact on the quality of the landscape, tourism is more significant in the Dales in terms of income generation, with other businesses and activities being relatively minor players. Currently, tourism functions largely on a high carbon/low wage basis, with high levels of seasonal and under-employment, lack of proper career structures and over-reliance on private cars for access.
A sustainable Dales community would see itself as existing within a physical environment and natural ecosystem and trying to find ways to coexist with that environment. It would play its part by avoiding degradation of the air, fresh water and other natural systems. It would replace detrimental practices with those that allow ecosystems to renew themselves continuously.
In a sustainable community the resources and opportunities would be available to everyone, regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, cultural background, religion, or other characteristics. A sustainable community would not deplete its resources, destroy natural systems, or pass along unnecessary hazards to future generations. A diverse sustainable economy would not easily be disrupted by events or disasters, and would not simply shift the costs of maintaining its good health elsewhere. It would not remain reliant on high and ever-increasing consumption, or non-renewable resources.
What we will do
Policy Statement published July 2020
We have cancelled all forthcoming events due to coronavirus except for online events.
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"it's more beautiful than you realise; the people are open and friendly and have time for you; your phone might not work which is a positive as you'll have more time - slow down and enjoy the silence".
Chair: Bruce McLeod
Canal Wharf, Eshton Road, Gargrave, BD23 3PN.
Charity number 515384.Company limited by guarantee number 1822908