North Yorks Moors National Park set to secure millions in extra funding

The body responsible for the environment and cultural heritage of the North York Moors looks set to secure up to £4.5m of extra funding this year for an array of projects to boost its landscapes and communities.
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A meeting of the North York Moors National Park Authority’s finance committee heard the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has approved a £1.2m peatland restoration grant towards the 18-month scheme with Yorkshire Peat Partnership, which could span across nine sites.

Members also welcomed an announcement that a revised £955,000 bid to The National Lottery Community Fund to work with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Groundwork and Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership engaging communities in the Esk and Coastal streams Catchment Restoration Programme, was also likely to be approved.

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Other recent external funding successes, which are worth more than £500,000, will see two fords on the River Esk replaced with bridges to create a more naturally functioning river and work to help conserve the park’s populations of water voles and the small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly.

The North York Moors National Park Authority is aiming to restore various areas of peatland Picture: LDRSThe North York Moors National Park Authority is aiming to restore various areas of peatland Picture: LDRS
The North York Moors National Park Authority is aiming to restore various areas of peatland Picture: LDRS

The growth in external funding as a proportion of the authority’s income has been a direct result of decisions in the 2012 Business Plan to shift the culture of the organisation and actively manage how it developed grant-funded projects and earned income generation across the breadth of its work.

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Setting a record programme of works costing £12.8m earlier this year, the authority underlined its intention to generate more income to ensure it has sufficient funding for key tasks such as path maintenance in the face of dwindling government funding.

While the core government grant covers just 34 per cent of the authority’s actions after a fifth year of flat cash settlements, its strategy of generating external funding saw more than £3m extra being ploughed into meeting the authority’s ambitions.

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Officers told the meeting it was expecting a decision by North Yorkshire Council’s Shared/Rural Prosperity Fund in coming weeks about some £181,700 of projects at its visitor centres at Danby and Sutton Bank.

The meeting heard officers were concerned about a slump in visitors to Danby since the pandemic, falling from around 90,000 pre-Covid to about half that number, leading to a “significant hit” for the authority in car park and retail income.

Members were told if successful, the funding would support creating permanent arts trails around the visitor centres, play areadevelopments, the development of mobility Tramper routes and a reflective area at Danby.

In addition, Heritage Lottery Fund has invited the authority to progress its £655,000 bid to Natural England’s Species Survival Fund to the final round, which if approved would see habitats connected, work to reverse species decline along coastal pathways and the creation of species-rich meadows, orchards, hedgerows in Ryedale.

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Such is the scale of the project it would see the authority teaming up with the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 80 parish councils, the National Trust, Mulgrave Estates, Freshwater Habitats Trust, Buglife, National Trails UK, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, and Whitby, Scarborough and Ryedale Naturalists.

The authority is also optimistic about securing £142,000 from National Grid towards the costs of its scheme with the Battefields Trust and Historic England to develop an accessible route and interpretative trail around Roulston Scar, near Sutton Bank, which was once an iron age fort.

The project would also see a community archaeological investigation themed around the nearby Battle of Byland site and Second World War remains around Sutton Bank, as well as habitat improvements.