Britain’s largest national parks are to be extended by almost 500 sq km, the government agency Natural England has announced .
Government Secretary of State Elizabeth Truss confirmed extensions to Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.
Both parks, in northern England, are major international tourist attractions, containing some of Britain’s most stunning scenery, of mountains, lakes and fells.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park will include an additional area of land totaling approximately 417 sq km in two adjoining counties, Cumbria and Lancashire. The Lake District National Park will be extended by 70 sq km.
A spokesman for Natural England said: “These new areas join the ranks of some of the country’s most highly protected landscapes and amount to the most significant addition to England’s National Parks since 2009.”
Speaking in the Yorkshire Dales National Park today, Natural England’s chairman Andrew Sells said: “I very much welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to extend the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks.”
“With international appeal, their stunning landscapes stand out as a beacon to the people who come to enjoy them whilst their intrinsic value drives the communities, businesses and biodiversity they support. Extending these today confirms their great importance and provides them with the recognition they richly deserve,” he added.
Natural England has special responsibilities for creating the country’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The potential to extend the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks has been under consideration for a number of years.
Latest figures show last year more than 16 million people from all over the world visited the 2,300 sq km Lake District National Park, famed for its lakes, such as Windermere and Ullswater, and mountain ranges.
Tourism to the park last year earned over 1.7 billion U.S. dollars for the Lake District economy.
Figures reveal more than 3 million people a year visit the Yorkshire Dales, earning more than 300 million U.S. dollars for the Yorkshire economy.