NATIONAL park chiefs are urging people who would like to help shape their local area to consider standing as a parish councillor.

Local elections take place on May 2 will not only decide the make-up of parish and district councils, but will also affect the membership of the North York Moors National Park Authority itself.

There are more than 100 parishes in the North York Moors, each represented by either an elected parish councillor or the chairman of a parish meeting.

Andy Wilson, the chief executive of the National Park Authority, said: “Parish councils play a vital role in providing local services and representing the interests of local people.

“In the North York Moors, a small group of these parish councillors also become members of the National Park Authority, meaning they sit on the park’s planning committee and help make important decisions regarding how the park is managed and cared for.

“The contribution of these parish members is valued enormously, as these individuals are seen as being particularly close to those who live in the North York Moors and therefore those who are most affected by the decisions the Authority takes.”

The North York Moors National Park Authority has four parish members, representing the western, northern, southern and coastal communities of the North York Moors. Following the elections in May, all of the parish councils and parish meetings in the North York Moors will be invited to nominate parish members to join the National Park Authority.

Malcolm Bowes represents the parishes in the west of the North York Moors and has been a parish member for 15 years. He is also the authority’s deputy chairman.

He said: “It is important that the views of those who live and work in the North York Moors are fully reflected in the discussions at the National Park Authority.

“Parish members provide this local voice and also keep local people informed about the work of the authority. Inevitably there will be differences of opinion from time to time so this can be challenging. It is also very rewarding and enjoyable to work with the staff and local people who care passionately about the future of this National Park.”

For more information, phone Vanessa Burgess on 01439 772700 or email