I WONDER if any of your readers have noticed the rise in the 'park where I like' attitude of visitors in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This isn’t just to avoid car park fees in villages, but can be seen in passing places on our narrower roads or anywhere vaguely near our rivers.

Perhaps it is time to re-imagine how these visitors could contribute more than emissions to our rural economy? One idea would be to charge an entry fee using use camera-based congestion charge type technology at the park’s borders. Obviously, residents and frequent business users of the park would not be charged and cameras mean traffic flow would not be affected.

Levying an entry fee would spread the cost of providing enhanced visitor amenities across those people who come to use them. For example: More frequent bus services including park and ride from outside the park border; making national park car parking free to address “park where I like”; repair roadside walls to keep stock in; introduce cycle routes to increase safety of 20mph cyclists on narrow 60mph roads; employ people to litter pick at park hotspots and pay for improvement of footpaths, riverbanks or car parks.

The rest of the money could be distributed equitably amongst the farmers. These folk are the primary contributors to providing the “1950’s James Herriot” experience that visitors expect in terms of how the park looks: Barns, walls, sheep flocks, maintained fields etc. but need support to make it economical.

As entry and exit to the national park would be monitored, a starting point for charges could be the current rates charged at national park car parks. Most people wouldn’t think twice about paying this much in a pub, café or gift shop, but take exception to paying them for parking.

J Parker