Hill Top Farm in the Yorkshire Dales

Halting unsustainable barn conversions

We’re thrilled to share the news today that in response to our campaigning the Government has confirmed that Protected Landscapes will continue to be exempt from measures which allow for agricultural buildings to be converted to residential use without the need for planning permission. 

This is fantastic news as removing this exemption could have led to a free-for-all on the development of new, isolated housing or holiday lets in unsustainable locations in National Parks. This would be damaging to the environment and make it much harder to ensure National Parks contribute more towards the30x30 target (the worldwide goal to protect 30% of land and water by 2030) as well as undermining National Park Authorities policies aimed at ensuring local people are prioritised for new housing in National Parks. 

This news comes after we submitted a strong response to the consultation which proposed removing the exemption and worked with National Park Societies across England to campaign against the changes. We sent a joint open letter to the Secretary of State (Michael Gove) and Societies encouraged their members to write to their local MPs to raise concerns about the potential damage that would be caused by allowing an expansion of barn conversions within the Parks. We also had a letter published in The Telegraph highlighting the issue. 


In 2014 we secured the original exemption when this permitted development right was originally introduced. 10 years on we’ve been successful again in our campaigning and will continue to fight for a future of nature-rich National Parks for everyone.