The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks have taken a big step today towards sustainable transportation and conservation with the introduction 18 EV charging points. The facilities have been funded by BMW UK as part of its ‘Recharge in Nature’ partnership with National Parks UK, and signify a crucial step in fostering eco-friendly travel and supporting community engagement programmes.
Driving towards sustainability
The installation represents a significant step forward in the Recharge in Nature partnership’s mission. The scheme aims to establish EV chargers in all 15 of the UK’s national parks by the end of 2025. Over a three-year period, this initiative seeks to encourage the use of electric cars, not only for park visitors but also for residents and workers, thereby contributing to the reduction of emissions and noise pollution in these pristine landscapes.
Of the 18 new EV charging points, 12 have been strategically placed in the Yorkshire Dales National Park at locations including the Malham National Park visitor centre, the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes, and the Grassington National Park visitor centre. Meanwhile, the North York Moors now has six chargers at Sutton Bank National Park centre, with an additional six set to be installed at Danby Lodge National Park centre.
Neil Heseltine, chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and National Parks Partnerships’ board member, said:
“The Yorkshire Dales National Park alone welcomed 5.1 million visitors in 2022. We’re so pleased that our partnership with BMW UK will support those who are travelling to Yorkshire’s National Parks in EVs, to do so with more confidence. Part of our responsibility as national parks is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of our Parks and this includes facilitating more sustainable journeys to Yorkshire’s National Parks.”
With nearly 54,000 public charging points in the UK, but one third of these being concentrated in London, the expansion of the EV network across national parks is a significant move. This initiative ensures that the distribution of chargers is not confined to urban centres, providing more travel options for the 93 million annual visitors to national parks that travel by car.
Graham Biggs, corporate communications director at BMW UK, said:
“The UK’s EV infrastructure rollout is continuing at pace and we need to see this accelerate to reach at least 300,000 charge-points by 2030. It’s important that the distribution of these chargers is spread right across the UK and we need to ensure that our countryside is brought up to speed with the bigger cities. Access to nature for everybody is so important and we’re pleased to be supporting the Recharge in Nature partnership to enable and encourage this through EV infrastructure, bus services and community engagement programmes.”
Beyond charging points
The Recharge in Nature partnership extends beyond EV infrastructure to support community impact and nature restoration projects unique to each national park. In the North York Moors, BMW’s funding is also empowering outdoor volunteering programmes for families and young adults. ‘Youth Plus’ offers opportunities for individuals aged 16 and over to engage in volunteering, ensuring a diverse and inclusive community of conservationists. This initiative underscores the commitment to giving a voice to young people in decision-making processes within the national park.
Heather McNiff, head of outdoor learning and engagement at the North York Moors National Park, highlighted the programmes success:
“Historically we have lots of very young volunteers, as well as people aged over 40, but we’ve struggled to engage individuals that fall between those age brackets. Thanks to BMW UK’s funding we’re able to support ‘Youth Plus’, which provides more opportunities for those aged 16 and over to engage with volunteering in the national park. We’re passionate that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and so BMW’s funding also supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with additional accessibility requirements to access the national park and its volunteering programmes.”
The introduction of EV charging points to the region’s national parks represents major progress in the pursuit of sustainable mobility and environmental conservation. As the Recharge in Nature partnership unfolds, it will not only enhance the infrastructure for eco-friendly travel but also empower communities and safeguard the natural treasures of these national parks.
Article based on press release.