Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority elects leaders

Neil Heseltine and Derek Twine at the AGM.

A Dales hill farmer and a former Scouts chief have become chair and deputy chair, respectively, of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Neil Heseltine, from Malham in Craven, was elected to serve a fourth consecutive year as chair at today’s annual general meeting.

Derek Twine, the former chief executive of the Scouts Association, from Burley-in-Wharfedale, has become deputy chair for the first time.

Their task is to lead the national park authority for the year ahead as it runs a range of programmes such as wildlife conservation and rights of way maintenance, while fulfilling its statutory duty as the local planning authority.

Mr Heseltine – who last week became chair of the advocacy body National Parks England – outlined what he wanted to do:  “What’s really important over the next year is the start of work to develop the next five-year Yorkshire Dales National Park management plan.

“It will be about the hearing from local communities and working with all our partners to achieve our shared ambitions.

“In terms of farming, our Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, which we administer in the national park on behalf of Defra, is gathering momentum and we’ve got to keep pressing home to government what a successful programme that has been, and how it should be expanded or used as the basis for a scheme.

“And we will continue with our Local Plan, which has generated a lot of interest today with regard to housing sites but there will be other planning policies in it which will be really important to all in the National Park.”

Mr Twine said: “Key for me is to support the chair and the authority to ensure we can go forward with our ambitions for the national park.

“Of particular interest to me is making sure the national park is accessible to all, and I will be placing a particular emphasis on the services we provide for younger generations living and working in the Dales, such as educational activities and plans for affordable housing.”