Volunteers supporting conservation across North Yorkshire are being heralded as key to ensuring plans to place the county at the forefront of the fight against climate change become a reality.
Community champions have made a huge contribution, keeping North Yorkshire cleaner, greener and more connected in ways that would otherwise not have been possible.
We are overseeing initiatives to ensure that we achieve our ambition of reaching carbon net zero by 2030, and the work of volunteers is vital to conduct grassroots schemes to conserve the county’s natural habitats.
Our executive has endorsed a bid for York and North Yorkshire to become the first carbon negative region in the country, meaning more carbon dioxide emissions would be removed from the atmosphere than are emitted.
North Yorkshire has five protected landscapes covering almost half of its countryside, with the Howardian Hills, Nidderdale and the Forest of Bowland Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors National Parks.
The council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “Volunteers play such an important role in society, but their work on conservation projects in North Yorkshire is invaluable.
“Like all councils across the country, we are facing significant financial pressures, and volunteers are such an important additional strand to support the work we do.”
Among initiatives being considered to help with habitat restoration and improving biodiversity is a local nature recovery strategy. The strategy for York and North Yorkshire, which is due to be in place in 2025, will identify priorities for nature’s recovery, map the most valuable existing areas and identify opportunities for creating and improving habitats. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has allocated £388,000 to prepare the strategy.
Work to tackle climate change has also been identified as an initial priority for millions of pounds made available from the Government.
We have £16.9 million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to award by March 31, 2025, to projects to improve communities and place, develop skills and support people and businesses. A further £5.4 million from the Rural England Prosperity Fund is available to boost the economic prospects of the county’s rural areas. The first programmes open for applications are the community climate action and business sustainability programmes.
A climate change strategy has been drawn up for North Yorkshire to develop work to reduce carbon emissions, while outlining how we will prepare for changes in climate.
Our work is aided by scores of volunteers who are playing a major role in helping to conserve the environment, including in the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which lies between Helmsley, Malton, Sheriff Hutton and Easingwold.
Howardian Hills AONB officer Francesca Pert said: “North Yorkshire’s volunteers are crucial for delivering the objectives in the Howardian Hills AONB’s management plan.
“Volunteering also provides opportunities to get out in the fresh air with like-minded people, tackles loneliness and makes a tangible difference to biodiversity.
“Our volunteers help us to protect some of the area’s rarest habitats, from maintaining wildflower meadows to removing invasive non-native species and preventing scrub from encroaching on to Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation. We are extremely grateful for the work they do.”
We are celebrating volunteers by sharing their stories in its Team North Yorkshire campaign. Find more information about volunteering.
Find out more about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund’s programmes.