New partnership calls for better "Landscapes for Everyone"

Charities across the UK are today (20 January) joining forces to campaign for the protection and enhancement of our treasured landscapes.

The Campaign for National Parks is one of 27 national and regional organisations, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, National Trust, British Mountaineering Council and Wilderness Foundation, the coalition is believed to be the largest ever to be formed on this issue (1).

Ahead of May's general election, the coalition aims to raise the profile of landscape and emphasise the importance of landscapes to our wellbeing, environment and economy. With ongoing speculative development in and around sensitive areas, such as National Parks and AONBs, the varied group of organisations believes it is vital for future government policy and funding to reflect the extraordinary value of landscapes.

The "Landscapes for Everyone" vision is supported in parliament today by Natural Environment Minister Lord de Mauley, the Shadow Minister for Natural Environment Barry Gardiner MP and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environmental Affairs Baroness Parminter. The vision calls for better landscapes for people, better planning for landscape and better places for nature.

Lord de Mauley said: "Our beautiful landscapes provide not only outside spaces for people to enjoy, they are also valuable in their own right and integral to tourism, to rural economic growth and to people's health and wellbeing. I want to see our countryside continuing to contribute to the economy, while ensuring our much valued landscapes remain protected."

Julian Woolford, Chief Executive, Campaign for National Parks, said: "As the organisation campaigning to protect and promote some of the most beautiful and valued landscapes, the Campaign for National Parks fully supports the "Landscapes for Everyone" initiative. National Parks are "living landscapes" making a significant contribution to the economy through tourism, farming and other related businesses as well as containing breathtaking scenary, rare wildlife and cultural heritage."

Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, said:"For far too long, England's landscapes have been undervalued given the understandable focus on economic recovery. But beautiful landscapes and a strong economy go together. CPRE believes that government at all levels needs to do more to ensure our diverse landscapes survive and thrive, and to support local communities in safeguarding them. We are calling on all political parties to commit to the calls to action in "Landscapes for Everyone,"

Howard Davies, Chief Executive, National Association for AONBs, added:"Our landscapes reflect our collective past and determine our future quality of life. Landscapes are about people and places, are fundamental to our health and wellbeing and are an important part of our identity. It is critically important that the value of landscape is recognised in decision making locally and nationally."

Peter Nixon, Director of Land, Landscapes and Nature, National Trust, commented:"From the public park to the National Park, and the historic townscape to the natural seascape, Britain has extraordinarily varied landscapes, which provide limitless opportunities for enjoyment, exploration and inspiration. But they are threatened as never before by inappropriate development and lack of resourcing. As organisations, we've come together to ask Government and political parties to celebrate landscapes, and to show their commitment to a better future for these areas, that have inspired generations of people."

Stuart Brooks, Chief Executive, John Muir Trust, added:"Our wellbeing now and in the future depends on having access to wild places, which are vital for nature to thrive and people to restore their spirits."

Rachel Stancliffe, Director, The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, concluded:"The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare supports "Landscapes for Everyone" as it is vital to protect and enhance natural places, both to benefit people's health and for the well-being of the planet."

Notes to Editors

(1) The Coalition comprises: Association of Garden Trusts; Assocaition for the Protection of Rural Scotland; British Mountaineering Council; The Broads Society; Campaign for National Parks; Campaign to Protect Rural England; Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales; The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare; The Conservation Volunteers; Dartmoor Preservation Association; English Outdoor Council; Friends of the Earth; Friends of the Lake District; Friends of the Peak District; Groundwork UK; John Muir Trust; Landscape Institute; National Trust; Outdoor Industries Association; Open Spaces Society; Ramblers; Scottish Campaign for National Parks; Snowdonia Society; South Downs Society; Wilderness Foundation; The Wildland Research Institute and the Yorkshire Dales Society.

If you have any questions on the coalition please contact Tony McDougal at the Campaign for National Parks on 07766133788/ tonym@cnp.org.uk  or Benjamin Halfpenny at the Campaign to Protect Rural England on 020 7981 2819/ benjaminh@cpre.org.uk

Landscapes for Everyone: Creating a Better Future can be found at www.cpre.org.uk/resources/countryside/landscapes/item/download/3860