BY IAN McPherson, member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA):

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the single most important issue of our times is the growing climate change emergency (even Brexit pales into insignificance beside it!).

At the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority we recently declared our recognition of the seriousness of the emergency. As an organisation we have had a net zero carbon footprint since 2013, but we know we can do much more to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions and be kinder to the environment, and will be setting out a detailed plan of action in March.

We are also aware that the national park as a whole has not yet attained ‘net zero’ and one of the ways in which we, as an authority, are seeking to address this is by advising and helping farmers and landowners, through our farming team, to reduce their carbon emissions. As the authority’s member champion for the natural environment (which includes land management and biodiversity) I sit on the Dales Biodiversity Forum (DBF), and at a recent meeting the forum decided to hold a one day conference later this year, not only to provide more information to farmers and landowners on the subject but also to listen to their concerns and to hear about the ways in which they are already dealing with the issue – some through the existing Countryside Stewardship Scheme and others through the Payment by Results Scheme already up and running as a pilot in Wensleydale. The conference itself will be jointly sponsored by the DBF alongside the Dales Woodland Forum and the Farming and Land Management Forum with input from YDNPA officers and members of the authority’s Future of Farming Group. It won’t be held until November 11 at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes, but we already have some exciting speakers provisionally lined up including Tim Farron MP and Tony Juniper, the head of Natural England. The day will consist both of presentations and smaller workshop and break-out groups to help participants really get to grips with the practical issues which they face. We hope as many people as possible will be able to attend and more details will be sent out in due course. Hope to see you there!