The guardians of a national park which features one of the UK’s largest expanses of heather moorland and 700 ancient scheduled monuments have unveiled a radical manifesto to shape its future.

The North York Moors National Park Authority has called for a range of extra powers and resources in response to a review of protected areas Environment Secretary Michael Gove launched earlier this year.

He said declining habitats and the UK’s growing population meant it was time to consider if existing protections were sufficient and if there was scope for the network of areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks to expand.

The authority has welcomed the first major review since the park was established 66 years ago amid mounting frustration over its ability to respond to urgent issues affecting the landscapes.

Among the main issues highlighted in the authority’s response to the review, being led by writer and ex-Government advisor Julian Glover, who visited the North York Moors in September, was the disparity between its  powers to look after the landscape and buildings and its impotence to protect wildlife.

An authority spokesman said: “The current contrast between our extensive and accepted powers under planning legislation and our lack of statutory powers to protect wildlife is extreme.

“A lack of powers to ensure positive change happens means that, even if, say, after 20 years of the most extensive consultation it was agreed by all parties bar one that a certain activity should take place to save a critical species, the national park authority has, in general, no power to make the activity happen.

“This contrasts with, for instance, the powers other local authorities have to deal with matters even including abandoned shopping trolleys where there is specific statutory provision.”

In another far-reaching aim, the authority has also called for a broadening of its duties to include the health and wellbeing of visitors to the national park.

A spokesman said: “This would give impetus to the variety of existing initiatives in this field and increase awareness of the health benefits of national parks.”

The authority has also warned that designating new national park while reducing resources to existing ones would not be “an overall improvement”.

Other measures included in the park authority’s response include legislation which allows local planning authorities to recoup the costs of enforcing against unauthorised developments and a call to transfer responsibility for the management of rights of way to it from councils.

The authority has also called to be allowed to erect road signs at its entrances which while “respecting the need for good taste and restraint” enable the boundaries of the national asset to be highlighted.