The clock has started ticking in the countdown to the enlargement of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
In October last year environment secretary Elizabeth Truss announced that the National Park will be increased by nearly a quarter from August 1 when its boundary is extended to include a small part of Lancashire and an additional area of Cumbria.
It means the area covered by the National Park will increase by 24 per cent from 680 sq miles (1,762 sq kms) to 841 sq miles (2,179 sq kms).
The decision was subject to any legal appeal and none was lodged.
National Park Authority chairman Peter Charlesworth said: “The fact there have been no appeals against the Government’s decision is good news.
“It means we can now get on with the job of preparing for the extension of the National Park. We will be working with organisations, communities and individuals to identify their hopes and aspirations so we can find ways of meeting them while conserving the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the new areas.
“In the run-up to the establishment date, we will be inviting people who live and work in the area to a series of meetings so we can explain what we do and ask how best we can help them.
“Being in a national park has many benefits, not least to the conservation of the landscape and the boost to the local economies that national park status can bring with it.
“Some people may have misgivings – often based on inaccurate information they have been given – and we hope to allay their fears.”
The new boundary for the Yorkshire Dales National Park will now include the Orton Fells, the northern Howgill Fells, Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang to the north and, to the west, Barbon, Middleton, Casterton and Leck Fell, the River Lune, and part of Firbank Fell and other fells to the west of the River Lune.
Currently, 12 per cent of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is in Cumbria. That figure will increase to 27 per cent on August 1 and, for the first time, one per cent will be in Lancashire too. The National Park population is around 20,000 and this will rise to around 24,000 on this date.