INCOME from car parks in the Yorkshire Dales national park suggests tourists have been returning in the wake of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Total income over the past financial year has increased to £338,900, indicating as many as 25,000 more visitors came to the area than at the peak of the outbreak in 2001.

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority management chief, Jon Avison, said: "It is encouraging to see an increase in visitors using our car parks; it gives a clear sign that visitors are returning.

"The income from the car parks is reinvested in our work to protect and maintain the area's rights of way as well as the wildlife and special environment of the Dales."