# Background to the Peak District National Park and Peak District National Park Authority
The Peak District National Park ('PDNP') was the first in the UK to be designated (in 1951) for its outstanding landscape, environment and wildlife. Around 20 million people live within an hour's travel and there are approximately 38,000 residents. Every year millions of people visit to take part in a wide range of activities.
The statutory purposes of the Peak District National Park Authority ('the Authority') are to:
Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage
Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of national parks by the public.
In doing this, the Authority's duty is to seek to foster the economic and social wellbeing of local communities within the PDNP. We are the planning authority and set the policy framework for development, including for mineral workings. We are the access authority for the purposes of managing public access to the 37% of the PDNP that is open country under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
Seven 'special qualities' define what is distinctive and significant about the PDNP. The Authority and its partners conserve and enhance these special qualities while promoting opportunities for people to understand and enjoy them.
The seven special qualities are:
Beautiful views created by contrasting landscapes and dramatic geology
Internationally important and locally distinctive wildlife and habitats
Undeveloped places of tranquillity and dark night skies within reach of millions
Landscapes that tell a story of thousands of years of people, farming and industry
Characteristic settlements with strong communities and traditions
An inspiring space for escape, adventure, discovery and quiet reflection
Vital benefits for millions of people that flow beyond the landscape boundary.
# How to use this report
We have presented the findings of this assessment in two ways: by special quality and by theme.
The special qualities section gives a broad overview of the results of the vulnerability assessments, aggregated into the seven special qualities. It is useful for those interested in the vulnerability of the special qualities to climate change or those seeking a broad overview of the assessment results.
In contrast, the themes section includes the full set of feature-level vulnerability assessments, which we organised into themes to aid interpretation and comprehension. This is useful for those interested in the detail of the assessments or in the vulnerability assessments for individual features.
The vulnerability assessments can also be interpreted geographically by national character area using the maps in each of the feature assessment pages.
# Recommendations for adaptation
The key recommendations for adaptation arising from this assessment are presented with each feature in the main body of this document. In addition, the recommendations have been grouped by the special qualities to which they are relevant. These are listed in appendix 5. This appendix contains the same information as the main feature recommendations, simply organised in a different way to assist users mainly interested in special qualities.
The recommendations made in this report represent possible actions requiring future consideration, for example by the National Park Management Plan Steering Group. It should be noted that these recommendations are made solely with adaptation to climate change in mind. This report is not an assessment of the feasibility or impact of these recommendations on factors not related to climate change. They do not represent commitments made by the PDNPA or its partners. It is important to recognise that many of the recommendations made can only happen if there are appropriate incentives and, where necessary, a regulatory framework in place to make them a viable option for land managers.
# How will the vulnerability assessment be used?
This is a critical piece of evidence that will inform future PDNP Management Plans, the Peak District Local Plan, the Peak District Landscape Strategy and the Authority's Corporate Strategy. It will guide the development of policies and actions that will help ensure the PDNP's special qualities adapt to climate change and are looked after now and for future generations. This report's findings will enable the Authority and its partners to best direct energy and resources to those climate change adaptations that will have the greatest positive impact on the special qualities.
# Why carry out a climate change vulnerability assessment?
Climate change is a serious long-term threat to the PDNP's special qualities. It is likely to change the PDNP's natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage and could affect the ecosystem services and other benefits that the PDNP provides.
Practical interventions that will help the landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage to cope better in a changing climate, also known as 'adaptation measures', need to be developed and prioritised. To do this, an understanding of the 'vulnerability' of the PDNP's special qualities to climate change is needed. These 'adaptation measures' differ from mitigation measures, which are those actions that contribute to reducing climate change. These mitigation measures are considered elsewhere; for instance, in the National Park Management Plan and the Authority's Carbon Management Plan 2.
This document is an independent, specially commissioned report that has been undertaken on behalf of the PDNPA to assess the vulnerability of a broad selection of the measurable individual 'features' that underpin the PDNP's special qualities. It focuses in detail on the features most vulnerable to climate change. Together, these assessments provide a good indication of the overall vulnerability of the special qualities as well as providing a detailed overview of the vulnerability of individual features. This report also fulfils the PDNPA's commitments to undertake a climate change vulnerability assessment as set out in the 2016 Climate Change Adaptation Report and the 2018-23 National Park Management Plan.