England needs a powerful landscape champion urge countryside campaigners

Countryside campaigners have challenged the Government to recognise the need for a landscape champion in a new eight-point Manifesto for Landscape.

Campaign to Protect Rural England said its manifesto came at a time of growing pressure on landscapes from "damaging" change. Threats included new planning rules, lack of a national landscape policy and the review into the future of Natural England.

Rural policy campaigner Emma Marrington said: "Our Manifesto sets out eight things 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.’

"The current review of Natural England makes the future for our landscapes even more uncertain. The country needs a powerful public champion for landscapes. It is vital the Government keeps Natural England as a free-standing body and funds it properly."

She said there was growing evidence planning reforms, in the National Planning Policy Framework, undermined local authority attempts to protect countryside from development. Some new development was necessary, but not in "opposition" to our best landscapes.

President and former poet laureate Andrew Motion said: "David Hockney apparently painted his famous view from Garrowby Hall from memory. We must try and make sure 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."

One of the points calls for more to be done to protect and improve England’s landscapes through local and national policies to safeguard existing national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Another called for the Government to reconsider plans to restrict the registration of new town and village greens and support communities to use the new Local Green Space designation.

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