Move to stem light pollution spilling into Yorkshire Dales National Park from nearby towns

A light pollution map of Richmondshire.

The custodians of the Yorkshire Dales National Park look set to work with councils surrounding the protected area to tackle the “ugly glow” of light pollution spilling into the protected area.

Members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority resolved to approach local authorities in North Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and West Yorkshire as they agreed actions to enhance its dark skies, which they had heard was regarded as one of the 2,179sq km area’s special qualities.

An online meeting of the authority also saw the authority endorse an application for International Dark Sky Reserve status, which members heard would create a range of benefits, including boosting tourism, enhancing wildlife habitats and improving health and wellbeing.

Members were told how a programme of dark sky meter readings over 20 months across 300 locations in the national park had seen about one third of the sites meet the minimum requirement for the reserve.

Kathryn Beadmore, the authority’s director of park services, said while there would be a core area across uplands with very few homes for the proposed reserve, it would extend to the national park’s boundaries.

She said while light pollution from towns such as Richmond, Catterick and Skipton affected the national park, it was a difficult issue to tackle retrospectively.

The core area of the proposed Dark Sky Reserve is bounded in blue. Crown copyright and database rights 2020 Ordnance Survey.

The meeting was told planning conditions on new developments would be the main way to stop light pollution getting worse.

Park authority member Richard Foster, who is also leader of Craven District Council, said the park was already suffering from “an orange ugly glow” emanating from towns and cities in West Yorkshire.

He said: “With the clear eye that we had during lockdown it has been fantastic to look up and see what we have got up there.”

After the meeting, Richmondshire District Council’s operational services spokesman Councillor Richard Good said the council would discuss the issue with the park authority, and look particularly closely at proposals for developments under the Ministry of Defence’s plans to create a super garrison at Catterick Garrison.

He said: “There is a lot of light pollution from the garrison for security reasons, but there might be ways of moderating it. It is in everybody’s interests to reduce the light pollution as much as possible.”

This light pollution map shows that the National Park boxed in red is largely dark at night.