On behalf of Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT), I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to the many individuals, businesses and partner organisations who have supported our charitable work over the last twelve months.

2016 got off to a flying start with the launch of several exciting new projects, including Stories in Stone; a four year programme of community and heritage projects based around the Ingleborough area. The £2.6 million scheme is mainly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund thanks to National Lottery players, and has already seen us deliver lots of education, outreach and training opportunities, as well as distributing around £50,000 in grants to support local initiatives.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of our work restoring wildflower hay meadows, we launched Meadow Links – a project that aims to empower communities to conserve their local wildlife. Working together we’ll create species-rich meadows and wildlife patches across the Dales and Forest of Bowland to support bumblebees, butterflies, birds and small mammals.

Green Futures also began this year, bringing opportunities for 4,000 young people aged 11-24 to connect with their local environment over five years. We’re sharing the skills and knowledge to help make real environmental improvements and raise awareness. It’s part of Our Bright Future - a movement of 31 youth-led projects across the UK, funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

The launch of the Roger Stott Community Grant Fund was another highlight of 2016. We awarded £30,000 in small grants to community groups in and around the Yorkshire Dales to support a wide variety of local projects, including new playground equipment, village hall improvements and craft workshops to name just a few. Thanks to ongoing support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, a further £45,000 has been added to the fund, and we’re looking forward to supporting many more community projects that will make a big difference to local people.

Environmental conservation continues to be a key focus, and I’d particularly like to thank our friends at The Fuelcard Company for their vital support in this area. Working with landowners and partners including Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission, we have planted around 1.3 million new native trees since 1996, with several more new woodlands being planted this winter.

2017 looks set to be another exciting year, not least because we will be celebrating the Trust’s 20th birthday. We plan to mark the occasion by distributing 20 special awards to support a range of initiatives across the region – we’ll look forward to sharing details in due course.

David Sharrod

Chief Executive, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

WHY are Craven District Council closing local recycling sites including the Town Hall car park and Crosshills?

Apparently local residents have complained they are unsightly, rats have been seen, and inappropriate items have been deposited. Undoubtedly true. However rather than take the easy option of closing these sites and removing the recycling facility from those using them responsibly, is it unreasonable to expect our council to accept responsibility for managing these sites. Emptying the containers when required and removing fly-tipped items might be a more appropriate solution.

It has been suggested that these facilities have outlived their usefulness although this is hardly supported by the fact they are being extensively used!

When we are being asked to recycle more surely this sends out the wrong message and is very much a retrograde step.



Local Plan problems

LIKE many of your readers I was very interested to read Councillor Ireton’s explanations for why Craven is relying on agency staff to struggle to complete the Local Plan in line with the new “extended” timescale. Apparently the reason for the delays is that national government keeps changing the rules.

This might be a very plausible explanation. After all Councillor Ireton’s Conservative Party have been running the national government as well as the local council throughout the period of the many delays so it is entirely possible that it is a different part of his party that is providing the problems.

The assertion is however a touch undermined by the report elsewhere in your paper that the Yorkshire Dales National Park plan has now been adopted. Readers may like to decide for themselves whether the challenge of producing a plan for the National Park was so much easier that it has been produced a year before the currently hoped for date for the production of the Craven Plan. By agency staff who presumably have little experience of the locality.

In the meantime residents of Craven remain even more vulnerable to inappropriate housing developments than they will be when the council finally submits a plan that meets the requirement set by the Conservative party for a presumption in favour of development.

Andy Brown, Main Street, Cononley

Time to step down?

THANK you for revealing the names of the two councillors who failed to pay their Council Tax.

The recalcitrance of these two elected councillors to pay up, despite being in receipt of allowances/expenses far in excess of their Council Tax bills, clearly shows that they evaded their duty to such a degree as to require legal action by Craven District Council in the form of final warnings, summonses and/or liability orders.

I would be surprised if the police had not been informed particularly if they had voted on financial matters in council meetings whilst having failed to pay.

One of these councillors has already gone, but the other remains “in post”. The time has come for this councillor to consider his position. He will not be the first to do so. In Leeds, several councillors have now been outed by recent revelations in the Yorkshire Post and are also considering their positions as to whether to “step down” for similar activities.

Hopefully, Craven’s electors will not be placed in a position to deliver their verdict next May as to whether this councillor, is or is not “ fit for public service”.

The game’s up. It is time to enter the Departure Lounge.

Peter Rigby, Beamsley.