North Yorkshire is the largest county in England covering 3,200 square miles. There are 340,000 households with a population of 830,000 residents. There are 37,000 active businesses. The City of York is home to over 21,000 students, with two universities. North Yorkshire’s national parks and over 800 tourist attractions attract more than 20 million visitors each year.

Our Service area consists of the County of North Yorkshire with its seven districts and boroughs, and the City of York. There are currently two upper tier authorities; North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council.

Our county has isolated rural settlements and farms, market towns, and larger urban areas such as York, Harrogate, and Scarborough. Overall, it is sparsely populated, but the population is increasing steadily. It has an ageing population with the number of people in the older age groups increasing at a higher rate than the average in England. By 2025, there will be 21,200 additional people aged 65+ in our county, but a decrease in the working-age population. Rate of suicides is slightly higher than the national average. Compared to the England average, overall population health is better and smoking prevalence is significantly lower. Life expectancy varies by 15 years between wards across the county.

Two of the major rivers in the county are the River Swale and the River Ure. The Swale and the Ure form the River Ouse which flows through York and into the Humber estuary. The River Tees forms part of the border between North Yorkshire and County Durham.

There are approximately 6,000 miles of road across our Service area. The road network is the main means of transport connecting small towns and villages. The rural nature of our county means that people often travel further to access work, education and services. Each year North Yorkshire and York welcomes tens of thousands of visitors who travel to, in and around the county, primarily on rural roads.

Our county is a popular tourist destination. Hospitality and entertainment are some of the main industries in the area. Stretching from the North Sea in the east to beyond the Pennine watershed in the west, and from the Tees in the north to the Ouse and beyond in the south, the county has two of England’s ten national parks, three designated areas of outstanding natural beauty, over 200 sites of special scientific interest and over 12,000 listed buildings. The coastline of North Yorkshire runs for approximately 45 miles from just north of Whitby to south of Filey.

So what does this tell us?

  • Our size, geography and rurality present challenges around travel (distances, times and the nature of the roads), and for ensuring even access to our services across the county.
  • A high number of visitors and students means that our population and risk profiles fluctuate throughout the year.
  • An ageing population requires a wider range of interventions to minimise the need for emergency response.
  • Suicide prevention is an area of increasing focus for us.
  • Despite the lower smoking prevalence in our county, smoking is still identified as one of the main causes of fire.