The Lakes and Dales decision will create the largest area of English National Park land.

Rory Stewart MP and DEFRA Minister has today warmly welcomed the news that 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 join 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. It will bring a very large area of the Penrith and the Border constituency in particular within the boundaries of the National Park.

Rory Stewart said: “In Cumbria, our National Parks are the heart and lungs of the north-west. I am very pleased indeed that this decision has been made. It’s the right decision. It will ensure that our landscapes will be protected for future generations, and it recognises their immense social and cultural value, not just in terms of their biodiversity, but in terms of the communities and industries they support: food, farming, tourism, heritage and culture. I am so pleased that all my constituents who participated in the consultation, and who wrote so movingly about their desire to be included in a wider boundary, have been listened to, and am excited about this new chapter in the history of our National Parks.”

Today’s announcement 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.

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