THE custodians of a national park set to mark its 70th anniversary look set to support a subtle rather than sweeping overhaul its main purposes, to propel wildlife recovery schemes, better help farmers protect landscapes, and overcome “the many barriers to access” to the park due to socio-economic factors.

More than two years after the publication of the Glover Landscapes Review and two months after the government issued its response to the inquiry’s wide-ranging recommendations, a meeting of the North York Moors National Park Authority will consider whether the powers and statutory functions it was handed in 1952 remain appropriate.

Among a raft of proposed changes to the ambitions of protected landscapes, the government has suggested national parks’ core functions could include improving public health and wellbeing, driving forward nature recovery and building resilience to climate change.

An officer’s report to a meeting of the park authority on Monday states while its current statutory purposes have “largely stood the test of time and been sufficiently malleable” it supported creating a national nature recovery network.

It states: “Rather than make an explicit reference to climate change the purpose could be amended to reflect the need to promote the resilience of the landscape (to climate change). The first purpose should maintain reference to conserving and enhancing the cultural heritage of the place.”

Officers have also recommended the park authority underlines the pivotal role protected landscapes should play in delivering the new Environmental Land Management Schemes for farmers and landowners.

The report states: “Only through working with farmers and landowners as partners can this be achieved and this in turn requires the ability to target and tailor funding in a way that meets local needs and incentivises management and behaviour change.

“It is important that ELM schemes can be tailored to meet the priorities of each protected landscape and are adaptable to the farming and agronomic circumstances in each area.”

In response to the government’s suggestion there should be a strengthened second purpose of protected landscapes to improve connections to all parts of society, the report said while it believed the current second purpose had proved sufficiently flexible, it was “mindful of the desire to ensure that protected landscapes are seen to be inclusive”.

It states: “We therefore welcome updating of the second purpose, particularly to take account of the pivotal role that our landscapes play in improving health and well-being outcomes for both residents and visitors.

“In the case of the North York Moors, the National Park has a particularly important role as a source of recreation and spiritual inspiration for surrounding communities in Teesside that are among the most diverse and economically disadvantaged in England.”

Following an increase in anti-social behaviour in national parks during the pandemic, the government is considering a number of specific and targeted measures that could be made available park authorities, such as the ability to issue fixed penalty notices and Public Space Protection Orders.

Officers have also recommended the authority responds saying it would not want such powers if they were offered as the park was keen to be seen as giving visitors a warm welcome, but would support additional powers to restrict access on unsealed routes to reduce the extent of damage by illegal use of off-road vehicles.