Forces for change
There are many forces for change that will influence Dartmoor’s future. Some, such as climate change or national policy and legislation, are things that we need to respond to although they are outside the direct control of the Authority and other delivery partners. Some of the key issues raised during preparation of the Management Plan are listed below:
The implications of climate change, and the opportunity to respond both in terms of reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses, and adapting to the changes in climate already being experienced and predicted.
The pressures arising from increased visitor numbers, driven by new housing and development in surrounding areas leading to increased erosion; anti-social behaviour; traffic congestion; disturbance to wildlife and livestock; and resulting in conflicts with farmers and local communities.
The challenges facing the natural environment including declines in biodiversity; disruption of natural processes; inappropriate (or lack of) land management; soil compaction and erosion; increased flood risk; invasive species, pests and diseases.
Uncertainty over the future of upland farming and forestry particularly in the light of Brexit and what changes to markets, policy and funding will follow. However, if framed correctly the new ELM (Environmental Land Management scheme) could provide an opportunity to enhance Dartmoor and support sustainable farm businesses.
The implications of an ageing population and falling numbers of working age people living on Dartmoor; high house prices driven by the attractiveness of the National Park as a place to live; and low wage levels in key sectors such as agriculture, tourism and leisure.
The Landscapes (Glover) Review
The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan announced a review of Protected Landscapes in England. Julian Glover, a journalist and author, was asked to head up the Review Panel. The Panel’s Report, issued in September 2019, included 27 specific recommendations with an overall purpose that ‘we want our national landscapes to work together with big ambitions, so they are happier, healthier, greener, more beautiful and open to everyone.’ These included:
- proposals for a renewed mission to recover and enhance nature
- a stronger mission to connect all people with our national landscapes; to increase the ethnic diversity of visitors; and improve the nation’s health and well-being
- national landscapes working for vibrant communities; in particular addressing affordable housing and sustainable transport issues
- new designated landscapes nationally and changes to the designation process
- changes to the statutory purposes for designated landscapes; reformed governance arrangements; and a new financial model.
The Report included specific proposals to improve and strengthen Management Plans, with a stronger status in law, and with the main purpose of reconfigured Authority Boards being to prepare and drive delivery of Management Plans, overseen by a new National Landscape Service. The Review Panel saw Management Plans setting ambitious targets and actions for nature recovery and increasing the diversity of visitors, and addressing climate change through for example, tree and woodland creation and peatland restoration and supporting wilder areas. The Plans should be underpinned by robust assessments of the state of nature and natural capital.
Implementation of the Glover Review recommendations will require agreement by Government, legislative changes, and new funding. We are glad that the Review shares our ambition to make National Parks even better for people, nature and the communities that live in them. DNPA will work positively with Government on how the recommendations can be progressed. In this Plan the meantime, we have sought to follow the spirit of the Review findings and take forward what we are able to within current structures, powers and funding. In particular, we have embraced the challenge to be bold and ambitious in setting the future Vision for Dartmoor, which echoes the clear message that people gave us as we prepared the Management Plan. We fully recognise, however, that the Vision and ambitions in the Plan need additional resources if they are to be delivered across our Partnership