A Better Response to Climate Change


Climate change is the greatest challenge in the present day. The impact of climate change on Dartmoor will continue to be wide reaching, with warmer, wetter winters, hotter, dryer summers, increased (and decreased) river flows and an increasing frequency of extreme weather events, the effects of which are already being seen. The overriding opportunity   for the Partnership Plan is to make a significant contribution to both mitigating and adapting to climate change and addressing the ecological emergency.  This will need a concerted effort by all partners to this plan and people visiting Dartmoor but also strong national policy and resources to deliver.

Climate and Ecological Emergency Declarations

Dartmoor National Park Authority declared a climate and ecological emergency in June 2019, with a commitment for the Authority to be carbon neutral by 2025.

Our 2045 Vision sets an ambition for the National Park to be carbon negative.

The National Park can play a significant role as a carbon sink through peatland restoration, woodland management and creation, sustainable farming and land management practices to increase soil carbon. The Authority is also working with Devon County Council and partners on a co-ordinated response to the climate emergency for the whole county.

We want to ensure that Dartmoor leads the way on climate change mitigation and adaptation, making the best use of Dartmoor’s natural, built and cultural resources. The impacts of climate change cut-across all aspects of the Partnership Plan, and so the response has been integrated throughout each section of the Plan, linking to relevant aspects of the Local Plan which is an important delivery mechanism. In summary, this includes:

Mitigating climate change by reducing emissions

  • A major focus on increasing Dartmoor’s carbon storage and sequestration through restoration of; soils, extensively on peatland; natural regeneration of seminatural habitats; woodland creation and management.
  • Restoring naturally functioning hydrological systems and supporting healthy soils to maximise carbon storage and increase water-holding capacity.
  • Incentivising low carbon land management and agricultural practices (extensive, low input, pasture fed livestock systems) as part of future environmental land management schemes
  • Promoting local food and wood supply chains to reduce food and timber miles and support the local economy
  • Significantly reducing emissions from transport by improving sustainable transport options.
  • Using National Park Visitor Centres, information centres and wider communications and engagement at local, regional and national levels to help inform, engage and empower visitors and local residents to take action at a personal level.
  • Significantly reducing energy consumption through improved building efficiency, particularly fabric-first building, retro-fitting enhancements and requiring high standards of sustainable construction and sensitive treatment of the historic environment.
  • Encouraging the use of small-scale renewable and low carbon energy technologies such as biomass, solar PV and hydro, which are compatible with Dartmoor’s Special Qualities.

Adapting to a changing climate

  • A fundamental shift in nature enhancement, establishing nature recovery areas and restoring natural hydrological systems and well managed soils.
  • Adopting natural flood management techniques in key catchments to improve water absorption, slow the flow and reduce flood risk.
  • Considering future climate risks when managing development including flood risk, water availability for people and nature, cooling and shading.
  • Adapting land management and farming practices to support nature enhancement, soils, flood risk and future farm business resilience.
  • Requiring net gains for biodiversity as part of new development (through Local Plan policies), including green infrastructure which can help species adapt to climate change
  • Responding to the threats and opportunities for the historic environment as well as addressing competing priorities between nature enhancement, climate change mitigation & adaptation and heritage assets.
  • Supporting community action and engaging with young people through the climate emergency response.