Election promises now being delivered. All of them? With the news that the electrification of two major northern rail routes has been “un-paused”, are there signs that election promises are being delivered? The Government had faced accusations of “deceiving” voters with false election promises when plans to speed up rail services were shelved in June. But in the run up to the Conservative Party Conference, the development is now back on. So is it now time for more manifesto statements to become reality? We’ve had the good news for the economic sector. What about the environment? The Conservative manifesto said they would “put in place stronger protections for our natural landscapes … so that this remains the most beautiful country in the world.” What stronger protection could they put in place than confirming the extensions of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks? If ever a decision has been “paused”, this is it. It is over two years since the Public Inquiry. It is almost exactly two years since the Inspector reported to Defra. Over £600,000 covers just a part of the public money has already been spent since 2009. And yet, no response from the Secretary of State. Not even a statement clarifying the delay, requesting more information, or laying down a timetable. The rail decision is justified by the Northern Powerhouse. If we concentrate the Northern Powerhouse in our City Regions we are missing a whole series of tricks. The rural North’s contributions should not be judged simply on economic output, but on all the value we can add to complement our urban neighbours. The billions of pounds brought to Cumbria by the millions of visitors are a vital output, but does not measure the environmental and landscape benefits that should be protected and enhanced. The boost that Parks designation would give would go some way to emphasising and securing that contribution.