Appealing to nostalgia and a willingness to take risks are key to influencing MP's Groundwork conference hears

The way to an MP's heart, mind and purse strings is to prove you can act fast on policy, tap into their sense of nostalgia and show no fear at taking risks, green-space experts told a conference last week.

Image: HW
Image: HW

When asked by delegates to last week's Groundwork conference what was the most effective ingredient for winning over politicians, landscape consultant and conference panel member Peter Neal said it was to show them you could move rapidly through policy and ideas to action.

"The ability to achieve some kind of practical outcome to ensure change is absolutely critical," he said. "The danger is this will produce a short-term benefit. You need to ally this ability with a long-term mission on how to connect people to places."

Fellow panel member and environmentalist professor Chris Baines said: "Nostalgia always works; if you ask politicians where they used to play as children and what their favourite games where, they will nearly always say in the woods, pond dipping or running on the heath, just like you and me."

Valleys Regional Park coordinator at Groundwork Wales Dr David Llewellyn said: "Be bold and take risks, which was what Wales has had to do to change from being at the forefront of the carbon economy to the forefront of a decarbon economy, which won over politicians."

He said environmental regeneration in Wales had risen from four schemes totalling 40ha in the 1960s to 3,618ha of land transformed from industrial quagmires into green heartlands by the late 1980s.

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