Dalesman’s function is not one of spreading doom and gloom around the county – we’ll leave that to the newspapers and those who think we need 24/7 news. But that’s not to say we don’t keep an eye on what’s happening and in particular how folk in the dales and moors are being affected. I’m becoming increasingly concerned about our rural villages and how government decisions are chipping away at the very fabric of our local communities. As I drive and walk around Yorkshire’s rural areas I witness many ‘ghost’ villages where too many houses belong to second-home owners or holiday let companies. I hear of village school closures and upland farmers unable to make a living, and our landscape suffering as a consequence. Now I learn that many rural bus services may be axed even further. This not only affects local people who need the buses but also those tourists who can’t or prefer not to travel by car, which in turn is bad news for those small businesses who rely on visitors. More massive cuts to bus services have been recommended for approval at North Yorkshire County Council’s executive meeting on December 21, despite there being hundreds of objections to the plans. Excellent work by organisations such as the Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company have shown that there is a demand for a good bus service but without a proper grant from government further progress will be halted. Get on to your local councillors before it is too late.

Photo shows Kettlewell in Wharfedale

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