Thorne calls for landscape policy

Policy needed for landscape developments.

Britain’s most senior landscape architect has criticised the new planning White Paper and urged the Government to devise a landscape policy. Landscape Institute president Nigel Thorne said: “It is essential that the Government develops a landscape policy, which is singularly lacking in the White Paper.” He said last month’s launch, calling for an “independent” commission to decide on big projects such as airports, and the speeding up of smaller applications, was flawed. “It could be seen as a dumbing down of planning,” said Thorne. “You need strict guidance to ensure landscape isn’t tacked on like lipstick at the end of a project.” Such a move would compel planning students to dedicate time to landscape architecture and developers to include landscape designers at the earliest stages of a project. “This does not diminish the role of planners or architects, but says landscape is of equal substance. Too often, landscape architects are used as an afterthought, if at all. “Landscape is the context for all development, from a small change to a strategic shake-up for major transport projects. “I’m not for implementing laws, but if that is what it takes to get a true reflection of the importance of open spaces then so be it.” A representative for communities secretary Ruth Kelly said: “An independent planning commission would look at the local impact of big projects on landscape quality.”

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