The Partnership brings together 22 organisations from the public, private, community and voluntary sectors with the shared goal of delivering positive change in five key areas:
Dr Celia Caulcott, Chair of the Lake District National Park Partnership is pleased with the progress made by the Partnership, but she knows there is always more to be done.
She explains: “As a National Park and complex World Heritage Site, it takes many people coming together to care for such a special, cultural landscape. This report explains why it is vital for our partners and communities to work together for the benefit of the Lake District.
It is important to recognise the significant successes achieved so far through our partnership approach, but we should also be open and honest about areas where we know there is more work to do. We can be proud of our progress so far, and I hope that by taking stock of our collective achievements it gives us all a renewed appetite to continue to reach our shared goals to improve the Lake District.’’
Some of the successes highlighted in the report are:
Taking action on climate
The report cites good progress being made by the Partnership in a Cumbria-wide effort to be the first net zero carbon county in the UK, by 2037.
One project highlights that about 100 Cumbrian businesses received green grants totalling £1.25m to reduce their carbon footprints from the Low Carbon Lake District Fund via The Lake District Foundation.
Supporting farming businesses
Farmers are supported by the Partnership through the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme. Over 220 farms have benefitted from £1.5m of funding to date for projects that address themes of nature, people, place, and climate. Now in its third year, the Partnership is looking forward to supporting another year of innovation and ideas from the farming community.
A successful pilot has already conserved 10 traditional barns. The DEFRA-funded scheme, jointly managed by Historic England and Natural England and led by the Lake District National Park Authority, will see more barns restored in the coming year.
Supporting nature recovery
The Partnership is acutely aware of the importance of helping nature to thrive and recover with a number of projects in place to increase biodiversity in a way that is sensitive to the continuing viability of traditional farming.
Examples include the Upper Duddon Landscape Recovery Project where farmers, landowners and environmental organisations are coming together to achieve nature recovery on a landscape-scale. The project should secure a more sustainable and resilient future for upland fell farms in the valley and has already led to new local jobs.
The Partnership appreciates that the local knowledge, care and dedication of farmers and local communities is essential in creating a sustainable and bio-diverse future. Community interest companies (CICs) are a positive example of communities in the Lake District taking action, which are welcomed and supported by the Partnership.
The report spotlights two CICs; the Ullswater Catchment CIC, created to address the effect of climate change-related flood risks, bringing locals, farmers, land managers and flood risk experts together to find solutions and West Lakeland CIC, a farmer-led nature-recovery partnership.
Visitors jump on board
Highlighted in the report are the return of shuttle buses linking two of the National Park’s most popular hiking and walking destinations during the summer. The Partnership introduced the Wasdale Shuttle route, which connects Ravenglass station with a pop-up car park in Nether Wasdale, also the Buttermere Shuttle linking Cockermouth directly with Buttermere.
Another Partnership initiative - Miles without Stiles - is helping to make the Lake District more accessible. The addition of a 50th route means people with limited mobility, including powered-wheelchairs and families with prams and pushchairs, can now reach Alfred Wainwright’s first fell at Orrest Head.
A further exciting new route is the recently opened West Windermere Way along the western shore of Lake Windermere.
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The Partnership’s 2020-25 Plan is now live. The launch of the Plan was an important stage in the journey for the Partnership to work collectively and with others to make progress on the key challenges in the plan.
The Partnership started the process of developing the 2020-25 plan with the outcome of the Lake District State of the Park Report 2018. This, along with the findings of the 2019 ‘Landscapes Review – National Parks and AONB’ (Glover Review), identified a number of key challenges that were recognised as needing to be collectively addressed through the next Partnership’s Management Plan.
Extensive engagement between Partners and an extended network of wider stakeholders – via working groups, special forum meetings and 1:1s over a two year period led to the development of a draft which was prepared for wider public consultation in May 2021. The consultation was promoted by Partner organisations and over 2000 responses were received – the Partnership would like to thank all those individuals and organisations who took the time to provided views, comments and information.
The consultation confirmed that the challenges themselves were the right key challenges for the Lake District, with high levels of agreement (ranging from 73 to 90%) from those who responded. Similarly the support for what the Partnership had set out to achieve was also very high (68 to 81%) across all of the key challenges.
A report on Changes compared with the previous Plan (2015-20) which summarises the key messages from the consultation, and how this has strengthened the Plan is also now available.
The Lake District National Park’s Partnership recognises farming is facing a period of unprecedented change. Engagement with farmers and land managers has been critical to inform the development of the consultation on the Partnership’s Management Plan and a development stage bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Horizons programme.
In January 2021, farming organisations within the Lake District Partnership organised a series of meetings and developed a questionnaire to get feedback from farmers. Over 120 farmers and commoners attended meetings or completed questionnaires either on-line or through telephone interviews and the responses have helped to shape the plan.
Key concerns from the engagement included the survival of businesses through the period of change, the survival of hefted flocks, producing environmentally friendly food products, support for young farmers and visitor pressures during the coronavirus pandemic.
LDNPA Farming Officer said:
“It is important to acknowledge that farmers are key to delivering nature recovery networks and habitats in the National Park. More can be achieved when organisations, farmers and communities work together towards a common goal”.
If you would like more information, please email LDNPP@lakedistrict.gov.uk and we will get back to you.