UK signs convention on landscape

UK landscapes should have better protection following the signing of the European Landscape Convention.

The UK landscape is set to receive the benefits of protection from Europe in a move by the Government that the Landscape Institute (LI) has welcomed. Last week DEFRA signed up to the European Landscape Convention in a move that could be ratified by Parliament in 12 months. Twenty European countries are members of the convention, with 13 more non-ratified. DEFRA minister Jim Knight said the UK had signed the convention because it was committed to protection, development and sustainable landscape management. He said the convention would help to guide policy development. LI director general Marion Bowman said signing up would help a revival of interest in landscape, including the regeneration of public parks and squares. LI professional practice committee chairman Keith Rowe said the convention recognised the need to protect landscapes in law and to develop policies to ensure greater consistency of approach in everyday and iconic landscapes. “Landscape architects lead on seeing design and regeneration in both environmental and economic contexts and we will be taking an active part in the implementation of the convention,” Rowe said. “A first step by the Government should be to launch the national competition for excellence in landscapes called for by the convention. What better way to encourage a new public debate and involvement, as well as achieving the highest standards in an area where the UK has a proud history?”

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