An Enterprising and sustainable economy
Profitable farming, through food production, land management and farm based business, will promote and contribute to the special qualities of the national park, and is recognised as essential to its character and health
Protecting and enhancing the national park cannot be done without farmers and other land managers who in turn depend on their business to be economically viable.
Public Goods (Ecosystem Services)
The balance between economic growth in the agricultural sector, conserving the natural and cultural environment and realising the benefits of ecosystem services will continue to be challenging but our shared vision is to achieve this balance. This management plan seeks to encourage the protection, enhancement and more sustainable use of natural and cultural resources, whilst exploring the scope for economic return from public goods.
Viable Sustainable Farming
Market prices and support payments have both played an important part in the overall income of farms. The impact of wider global economic trends could have significant implications for national park farmers and land managers. There is further uncertainty as European agricultural policy and support systems are set to change after 2013. The challenge will be to quickly identify the likely effect of changes and agree actions to support sustainable farming activity in the future.
The natural barriers of the area, its terrain and its climate all have impact on agricultural production. The national park is designated as less favoured land; much of it is severely disadvantaged but many farmers are using the special environment to diversify farm products and move into other enterprises.
Agricultural land in the national park is largely grazed by dairy and beef cattle, and by sheep. The trend is for farms to become bigger and more efficient, driven by market forces, for example through the prices farmers receive from retailers and the costs of inputs. As farms and agricultural land come on to the open market some are purchased primarily as lifestyle holdings. Family farms continue to evolve as they respond to new challenges and opportunities.
Renewable Energy Development
Appropriate-scale renewable energy developments offer the potential for farms to become more sustainable by reducing energy use and diversifying sources of income, particularly since the introduction of feed-in tariffs which allow excess energy to be sold back to the national grid. A Supplementary Planning Document will guide farmers and land managers on best use of modern renewable technologies within a national park setting, and communicate the National Park Authority’s stance on renewables. Guidance will be reviewed to reflect advancements and innovations. The National Park Authority will seek to work with industry experts to develop best practice pilots.
The farming and land management sector is struggling to attract and retain younger people who are in part deterred by the attractiveness of alternative occupations. As such farm succession is a significant issue.
Sustainable Field Sports
There are a variety of sports based on wildlife, traditionally called ‘field sports’ or ‘country sports’. These include shooting, hunting and fishing as well as falconry. Well managed field sports are an important part of land based economy, as they retain traditional land management skills, provide important employment and have the potential to manage land in ways sympathetic to national park purposes. A particular focus should be on encouraging more sustainable forms of game and land management, for example, on moorlands, grouse habitat management practices which sustain a broad spectrum of birdlife, and pheasant shoots which do not adversely impact on native woodland. Encouragement should be given to fisheries where river habitats are managed for self-sustaining populations of native fish such as brown trout, and where artificial stocking is avoided.
- Enable more farmers and land managers to access advice and reward payments
- Seek to influence agricultural support payment reviews from a shared Peak District perspective
- Promote viable farming and food production that is competitive and cares for the environment, and which supports adaptation to climate change by farmers and land managers