TWO Yorkshire Dales charities are challenging everyone who lives and works in the national park or visits the area to go the extra mile to tackle the climate emergency.

Gargrave based Friends of the Dales and the North Craven Heritage Trust have together set out a programme of action to help farmers, landowners, businesses, tourists, national and local government, as well as statutory and voluntary organisations, adapt to global warming and to encourage nature recovery and sustainable development.

The ‘blueprint for a better future’ comes after an online conference in October organised by the charities for local politicians, experts and members of the general public.

It suggests people cut down on their waste, including the excessive consumption of food, and reduce their use of single-use plastic. It also encourages people to use public transport and make sure their homes are properly insulated.

Farmers and landowners are urged to understand and put into practice the ‘less is more’ model - less input, less intensive- on hill farms, which the charities say are in the front-line in the climate emergency.

Bruce McLeod, chairman of the Friends of the Dales, said: “Our response to the coronavirus pandemic has shown just how quickly we can develop and adapt to new ways of working and living. It was in stark contrast to decades of inaction on climate change.”

He added: “The conference brought together nearly 100 people who love and care for the national park. We heard about innovative responses to global warming that could be trialled in the Dales and discussed how we could work together to create a better ‘new normal’.

“The result is a list of challenges that will help us to tackle issues that will have more far-reaching and long-term consequences than the coronavirus pandemic.”

The document calls for a concerted effort to reduce all forms of waste including single-use plastics and make the farming, forestry, tourism and transport industries more sustainable.

It also sets out a number of changes to lifestyle and working practices aimed at improving energy efficiency and making better use of natural resources; supporting local economies and creating rewarding and secure employment opportunities; restoring and protecting landscapes and habitats; and preventing pollution and flood risk.

Local government - Craven District Council, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and North Yorkshire County Council - are asked to do what they can to increase walking, cycling, rail and bus use, and to develop an affordable low-carbon housing prototype for the Dales.

They are also asked to develop transport hubs and review the spatial distribution of development –asking are developments in remote locations ‘a good thing’?

Businesses are challenged to reduce road traffic, particularly from the area’s quarries, to improve energy efficiency and generate and use more renewable energy. They are also asked to design out waste and avoid packaging where possible, and if not, to use safe, sustainable and easily recyclable materials.

The full list of challenges can be viewed online at

The A Green New Dales: Year One of the Climate Emergency conference brought together expert speakers on a number of themes including a net-zero carbon national park, new thinking on tree planting, management of freshwater resources and switching to a ‘circular economy’ to help businesses build resilience and increase profits. All the presentations can be downloaded or viewed online at

The two charities are now working together to develop initiatives to help everyone who loves and cares for the national park to put the challenges into action.

Friends of the Dales, originally the Yorkshire Dales Society, was set up in 1981 and works to campaign, protect and promote enjoyment of the national park and adjacent areas.

In normal times, it offers a year-round programme of events, walks and talks so everyone can enjoy and learn more about the area and why it needs protection. One of its key projects is the provision of the Sunday DalesBus service, benefitting residents, businesses and visitors alike.

The North Craven Heritage Trust, established in 1968, works to foster interest in and care for the distinctive character and heritage of North Craven by encouraging high standards of planning and architecture, stimulating public interest in and care for the beauty, character and heritage of the area.