Public transport has a crucial role to play to achieve sustainability and equality of access in the
Yorkshire Dales. The current provision of public transport gives a basic level of coverage across many parts of the National Park and neighbouring areas but falls far short of meeting the needs of
residents or visitors.

The car has become the dominant mode of choice but this has to change if we are to ensure that
everyone has a chance to visit the Yorkshire Dales without destroying what makes it attractive. It is
estimated that over 80% of visitors travel by private car, 4% by bus or coach and 2% by train. More
than 80% of those living in the National Park own one or more cars.

The negative impact of such high levels of car travel is felt in many ways, notably air quality and
pollution from vehicle emissions amounting to 25% of the total greenhouse emissions for the Dales. A gradual change to electric vehicles may improve this in time, but it will not address the other impacts. Traffic congestion and parking will continue to be significant impacts which undermine the qualities of the areas being visited and adversely affect local residents and business.

The limitations of transport options currently make it more challenging for residents to travel unless they own or have access to private cars. Young people and those on low incomes highlight the cost and limited availability of public transport as barriers to opportunities for work, education, visiting and even living in the Yorkshire Dales. With the Yorkshire Dales being so close to densely populated urban areas it offers many positive health and wellbeing opportunities, but the lack of public transport makes this difficult, further adding to inequality of access.

Rail plays a useful role in some areas but the geography of the Yorkshire Dales and the extent of the existing rail network means that it is not sufficiently attractive without better frequency and
connecting bus services. The Leeds-Settle-Carlisle railway line serves part of the area well, but the
stations are generally remote from key visitor destinations and the train services have become too
geared towards sightseeing the rail line at the expense of day visitors and residents travel.

Bus services are limited and fragmented with some areas of the Dales receiving a very sparse
service. Our subsidiary – Dales and Bowland CIC (“DalesBus”) works to provide a Sunday and bank
holiday network of bus services into and around the National Park and Nidderdale that would
otherwise be absent. However, it is heavily-dependent on volunteers and short-term fund raising
and the services need to be put on a more sustainable footing with proper long-term financial
support from local transport authorities.

The impact of road dominated freight is significant in the Dales whether the long distance trunking
of goods on main roads like the A65, the plethora of delivery vehicles and lorries to and from the
quarries. Whilst we all benefit from freight there is a real need for less impactful solutions.

Our Policies

  • We support the objectives of the York & North Yorkshire Routemap to Carbon Negative to achieve net zero by 2034 and carbon negative by 2040, by reducing private car usage, decarbonising road vehicles, increasing active travel for short journeys and Increasing passenger modal share by bus and train.
  • We support the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority in calling for a rail and bus network that provides a viable alternative to the private car for visitors and residents alike, and for all who do not have access to a car. Such a network needs to be attractive in terms of accessibility, hours of operation, frequency, capacity and fare levels.
  • We believe that people should be actively encouraged to travel by foot, bike, rail or bus whenever possible. Local stakeholders – such as the National Park Authority, employers, heritage and visitor attractions, authors and publishers – should actively encourage people to travel sustainably. We support measures such as speed limits that make the Dales a safer place for people, livestock and wildlife.
  • We support measures to discourage road transport that is un-necessary or damaging within the Dales. These could include actions to address excessive noise, reducing the number of road freight movements, introducing charges for vehicle parking at places served by public transport and measures to discourage irresponsible and anti-social parking. These measures should feature in future planning consents and be applied retrospectively wherever possible.

What we will do

  • We will actively campaign for better public transport that meets the needs of residents and visitors not least in securing a significant increase in bus services, more use of the rail network, and ensuring all key visitor destinations are well-served by public transport.
  • We will work in support of YDNPA in making the case to local transport authorities, especially North Yorkshire Council, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Westmorland and Furness Council, and Lancashire County Council to give greater priority and resources to the provision of a comprehensive network of sustainable transport for the Yorkshire Dales.
  • We will seek to improve access to the Dales especially for under re-presented groups and from urban conurbations through improvements to bus services and on rail we will support enhancements to the network such as proposals for re-instatement of services and re introduction of trains through rail line re-openings.
  • We will scrutinise planning proposals and highlight any shortcomings in provision and support for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport and call for all developments to include measures to minimise the use of personal motorised transport.
  • We will work in partnership with YDNPA and with the Campaign for National Parks to call for policy changes that will give the National Park Authority a stronger and more direct influence over decisions that affect transport provision in the Yorkshire Dales.
  • We will continue to support, both financially and with publicity, our subsidiary Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company in its provision and promotion of DalesBus services.
  • We will work in partnership with other bodies – Friends of the Settle to Carlisle line, North York Moors Association, Harbus and others to improve and promote public transport.
  • We will encourage new thinking about freight and support proposals to reduce the number of road freight movements including micro consolidation, enabling more aggregates to move on rail and looking at ways to better co-ordinate services and share infrastructure.
  • Events that we organise will be accessible by public transport, where possible, and we will promote such events organised by others.