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National Park Authority elects leaders


From Bainbridge News Desk , 27 June 2023

A Dales hill farmer and a former Scouts chief have become Chair and Deputy Chair, respectively, of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Neil Heseltine, from Malham in Craven, was elected to serve a fourth consecutive year as Chair at today’s annual general meeting.

Derek Twine, the former chief executive of the Scouts Association, from Burley-in-Wharfedale, has become Deputy Chair for the first time.


Their task is to lead the National Park Authority for the year ahead as it runs a range of programmes such as wildlife conservation and rights of way maintenance, while fulfilling its statutory duty as the local planning authority.

Mr Heseltine – who last week became Chair of the advocacy body National Parks England – outlined what he wanted to do:  “What’s really important over the next year is the start of work to develop the next five-year Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan.  It will be about the hearing from local communities and working with all our partners to achieve our shared ambitions.

“In terms of farming, our Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, which we administer in the National Park on behalf of Defra, is gathering momentum and we’ve got to keep pressing home to government what a successful programme that has been, and how it should be expanded or used as the basis for a scheme.

“And we will continue with our Local Plan, which has generated a lot of interest today with regard to housing sites but there will be other planning policies in it which will be really important to all in the National Park.”

Mr Twine said: “Key for me is to support the Chair and the Authority to ensure we can go forward with our ambitions for the National Park.  Of particular interest to me is making sure the National Park is accessible to all, and I will be placing a particular emphasis on the services we provide for younger generations living and working in the Dales, such as educational activities and plans for affordable housing.”


The positions of Chair and Deputy Chair of the National Park Authority come up for election at each annual general meeting of the Authority.

Image: ‘Neil Heseltine and Derek Twine at the AGM on 27 June’

About the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority:

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of 15 National Parks in the UK. It is administered by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which has two main purposes: “to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage” and “to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park”. In carrying out these purposes, the Authority has a duty “to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities”. The National Park Authority comprises 25 members, made up of county and district councillors and members appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment to represent parishes or in recognition of their specialist skills or knowledge.

All our work is guided by the vision for the future of the National Park set out in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan: “Through their passion for this special place, local people and businesses will keep the Yorkshire Dales National Park a thriving area. Its unique cultural landscape will be treasured for its stunning scenery, exceptional heritage and wonderful wildlife, and every year millions of people will be inspired to be a part of it.”

For more information, please contact the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Media Officer Andrew Fagg ( or Communications Manager Mark Sadler (


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