Our earth is warming at an unprecedented rate as a result of human activity. Left unchecked, global warming will cause warmer wetter winters, hotter and drier summers and a greater risk of extreme weather events such as flooding, droughts and heatwaves.
Many of these trends pose serious threats to the National Park, its special qualities and the global natural systems we all rely on.
To tackle climate change on a global scale, we all need to do our bit by being conscious of our own behaviours and their climate impact locally and internationally.
Here’s what we are doing both as an organisation and through our work with others.
What we’re doing across our organisation
In July 2019, we declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency – the first National Park to do so.
In March 2020, the Authority agreed a Climate Action Plan; the most detailed assessment of its climate impact we've ever undertaken. The plan is designed to help us, as an organisation, become carbon neutral by 2025.
In 2023, we conducted research that found carbon sequestration on our woodland estate vastly exceeded our organisational emissions. We then set a new science-based net zero target to only allow us to use 10% of this to offset our emissions, focussing our action on direct emissions reductions.
We’ve already identified and actioned numerous projects, such as energy efficient IT procurement, a shift towards low emission vehicles, the installation of solar panels, and electric vehicle charging points. We’ve achieved a 26% overall reduction in our emissions between 2018 and 2022.
What we’re doing across Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor has a significant role in mitigating climate change. We're working with partners to reduce emissions from residents, business and visitors. We're also working to improve how Dartmoor’s natural environment mitigates and is resilient to a warming climate.
Dartmoor’s peatlands and woodlands play a critical role in storing carbon and water. Sustainable farming practice can create a mixture of habitats that store carbon, water and provide pathways for biodiversity to move along as it responds to climate change.
Our work on nature enhancement has lots of benefits including mitigating and adapting to climate change.
We’re working with many partners on initiatives that respond to climate change. This includes Dartmoor Headwaters, the South West Peatland Partnership, Our Upland Commons, Dartmoor Hill Farm Project and the Devon Carbon Plan.
In October 2021, the UK National Park Authorities collectively agreed a Joint Statement on Climate Change in the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow. We’re also doing some work to better understand the carbon footprint of Dartmoor. The assessment is consumption-based, accounting for all emissions produced in the Dartmoor National Park as well as those produced outside because of the goods, services and travel patterns of residents, businesses and visitors.
Dartmoor Partnership Plan
The Partnership Plan sets a bold vision for Dartmoor’s future and plans for a carbon negative Dartmoor by 2045. It outlines the challenges, opportunities and priorities faced by Dartmoor and what all of us need to do so transformative change is achieved.
Dartmoor Local Plan
The Dartmoor Local Plan – which sets out the type of development which is and isn’t acceptable in our protected landscape – contains exemplary standards for building design. This includes accessibility, biodiversity protection and energy efficiency. It says all proposed development must meet to protect and value nature while allowing communities to grow in ways that respects Dartmoor’s special environment.