The Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks hope to increase their combined area by 500km2 after consent from the Natural England Board to proceed to the next stage.
Both parks await the go-ahead from the secretary of state to join ranks with some of the largest, and best-protected national parks in the country. All those who have been working on the project since 2006 eagerly await the confirmation of the parks extension.
During the time that the proposal has been ready for a decision Natural England have been carrying out the relevant research, not only into the communities affected, but for the suitability of the land. Three main criteria were assessed in this process, the natural beauty of the proposed extensions, the opportunities they would provide for open-air recreation and the desirability of looking after them as National Parks.
The variations to the parks would include the areas of Orton Fells, Mallerstang, Leck Fells and River Lune, to name a few. In 2009 the communities joining the parks were asked to offer their opinions on the proposed expansion, and over two thirds were in favour.
Visit www.naturalengland.org.uk for more information.