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CPRE issue landscape challenge to Government

8 March 2013

A Forest of Dean AONB is a key ask of CPRE's landscape manifesto A Forest of Dean AONB is a key ask of CPRE's landscape manifesto Photo: © Alamy

The Campaign to Protect Rural England have launched a challenge to the Government to create a brighter future for England’s landscapes.

CPRE’s eight point Manifesto for the Landscape comes at a time of growing pressure on the policies and resources needed to safeguard our finest countryside from damaging change.

Andrew Motion, CPRE’s President says:

‘David Hockney apparently painted his famous view from Garrowby Hall from memory. But we must do everything we can to make sure that in the future our children will not just know the beauty of the countryside from books and paintings. Our landscape manifesto is a clear challenge to those who currently hold the future of England’s beautiful countryside in their hands that they must do much more to safeguard our matchless landscape legacy.’

Emma Marrington, CPRE’s Rural Policy Campaigner says:

‘Our Manifesto sets out eight things that the Government needs to do for our countryside, from the most majestic mountain-tops to the green spaces next-door to where most of us live.’

More needs to be done to protect and enhance England’s landscapes. Our challenge includes calls for:

  • Local and national policies that safeguard existing National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty from damaging development.

  • The Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks to be extended promptly, as well as the consideration of new AONBs in the Forest of Dean, Yorkshire Wolds and the Marches in Herefordshire.
  • The Government to reconsider plans to restrict the registration of new town and village greens and to support communities to use the new Local Green Space designation.

An imminent threat is posed by Clause 8 of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill which would override the key purpose of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – which is to conserve beauty - in order to provide new telecommunications infrastructure.

Emma Marrington continued:

‘The current review of Natural England makes the future for our landscapes and countryside even more uncertain. The country needs a powerful public champion for landscapes. It is vital that the Government commits now to keeping Natural England as a free-standing body, and to providing it with secure funding to do its job properly.’ 

There is also growing evidence that the Government’s planning reforms, in the shape of the National Planning Policy Framework, are undermining the ability of local authorities to protect the countryside from damaging development. Some new development is necessary, but it must take place in harmony with, rather than opposition to, protection of our best landscapes and wider countryside. The beauty of the countryside should be seen as an asset to the economy rather than an obstacle to economic growth.

Emma Marrington concluded:

‘This is a worrying time for our landscapes. It’s time for the Government to up its game and stand up for the countryside which is one of England’s most celebrated achievements.’

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