Malham farmer Neil Heseltine has been elected chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Malham farmer Neil Heseltine has been elected chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has elected a Malham farmer as its new head.

Neil Heseltine has taken over as chairman of the body from Carl Lis, who stepped down after 12 years in the role.

Mr Heseltine, one of four parish-council appointees to the board, has been an authority member for six years.

The former rugby union player is an upland farmer, producing beef, lamb and wool at Hill Top Farm, alongside ‘public goods’ such as wildflower meadows and pastures rich in biodiversity.

At the authority’s annual meeting at which he was elected he said: “Becoming chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is a huge honour.

“I’m motivated by what’s outside the window – the Yorkshire Dales national park – the landscape, the environment, the wildlife, and the people who live in that landscape, work in its environment and who visit.

“It’s important that as an organisation we recognise the collective work that has gone on before and strive to improve. That was something that resonated with me from my sporting life, where the principles of continually striving to be better are the same.

“I’m not suggesting that’s going to be easy, we’re in the midst of one of the biggest challenges of our lives, but with that challenge comes opportunity and new ways of working.”

Mr Heseltine’s role is to speak for the authority; guide its work; maintain political links with local councils and other agencies; and support the authority in fulfilling its statutory purposes.

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