Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority debates litter problem

A hay meadow in Muker, Swaledale.

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is considering whether one of its roles should be tackling litter in the park.

A meeting of the authority heard concerns that inappropriately dumped rubbish was both presenting a risk to wildlife and spoiling the scenery.

The issue was raised as members considered whether waste management should be proposed as an objective on the forthcoming management plan for the park.

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Member Nick Cottton told the meeting the authority clearing lanes of litter could become one of the park’s aims, similarly to how many miles of footpaths have been improved is recorded.

He suggested the momentum created by The Blue Planet TV series could be harnessed to get more volunteers to help clear dumped waste.

He said: “Our lanes within the Yorkshire Dales are some of our greatest assets. I have probably cleared 100 miles of lanes of litter over the past winter.

“The district and county councils don’t tend to get involved in clearing roadsides, but it’s what makes the Yorkshire Dales attractive.

“This would give us a chance to look at the riversides because there is quite a lot of plastic which gets washed down by the rivers and if we don’t stop it, it will eventually go out to sea.”

The meeting heard there was a long list of voluntary groups picking litter from the sides of lanes in some parts of the park and that council teams were already helping to address the issue.

Member Richard Foster said: “The idea is when you come to a national park you take your litter home, that’s why there’s no litter bins.”

The authority’s chairman, Carl Lis, said it was the responsibility of district councils to clear the roadside verges, but the concerns over areas such as green lanes would be considered by those preparing the management plan.