CHANGES to reduce the size of the board of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to 16 from 25 will be discussed at a full meeting of the authority.

The Authority says the proposals are being made to improve the governance of the national park and are in spite of a government-commissioned national Landscapes Review, which recommended boards of just nine to 12 members, none of whom would be appointed locally.

The changes, recommended by the Authority’s Audit & Review Committee and to be debated on June 30 would see local representation maintained.

Carl Lis, Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “We believe we can make more progressive changes to how the Authority is governed. We understand why the Landscapes Review proposes that national park authority boards are made much smaller, but we firmly believe that the removal of all local representation on the main board, with local members simply serving on a planning sub committee, would be a retrograde step.

“We already knew our board was too large and unbalanced following the extension of the national park boundary in 2016. Now is the chance to put that right – and demonstrate to government that we are serious about more effective local governance, before we have something imposed on us.

“Our Audit & Review Committee has recommended that we reduce the size of the Board from 25 to 16 while maintaining the level of local representation. That would mean 12 of the 16 members would be appointed from the county, district and parish councils to represent the 23,500 people who live in the national park.

“By having more efficient decision-making at the top from people who care passionately for this special place, we can build on the work already underway to address the climate and nature emergency in a way that continues to respond to the needs of our local communities.”

Other meeting papers published this week include a report revealing the ‘exceptional quality’ of the dark sky in part of the national park, and an update on the progress being made by local bodies to achieve the objectives in the National Park Management Plan 2019-24.