A NATIONAL park authority which is due to ratify its largest ever budget will keep its spending plans under close review amid concerns coronavirus could hit its numerous income streams.

Members of the North York Moors National Park Authority will consider delivering a wide range of ambitions by deploying resources of more than £13m by generating extra sources of income to supplement its government grant of £4.4m, amid uncertainty about much funding it will receive in future.

There was expected to be a cross government spending review last autumn, which would have helped to provide some certainty around the future grants for the authority but this has been delayed by a year.

A report to a full meeting of the authority states the national parks’ settlement is a real terms decrease of about two per cent, following on from a 40 per cent real terms decrease in grants from government to the authority over the austerity period.

The report states: “This led to the cessation of essential work on climate change and sustainable travel among other areas.

“This authority has proved adept at raising resources from other sources, it would be a pity if this entrepreneurial spirit was not supported in the forthcoming spending review. Indeed, if the core [government grant] continues to be reduced our ability to leverage in more funds will also be reduced.”

The report warns the extra income is “very much at the limits of the leverage that is possible” with the government funding and can only occur by not delivering some of the core funded services which were previously supported by permanent staff.

It stated the budget includes “challenging targets” for both car parking and visitor centres and the past year had demonstrated how volatile car park income could be in relation to weather conditions.

Andy Wilson, the authority’s chief executive, said the authority had several sources of income that could be affected by the coronavirus outbreak in the coming months.

He said: “We will need to reconsider the budget very carefully over the forthcoming weeks as we watch the impact of the virus on our incomes.”

Mr Wilson said while the authority was liaising with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and other agencies over funding, it was also very conscious of the impact on other organisations and businesses and would work to support the rural and visitor economies wherever it could.

He said: “Other people will be experiencing more significant difficulties than the national park authority. Our first concern is looking after the safety of the public and our staff.”