The United Kingdom ratified the European Landscape Convention: http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Html/176.htm in 2006.
It appears that whilst DEFRA are fully aware of the convention, are the DCLG?
It is applicable to the work and ambitions of the DCLG as the text confirms without much manoeuvre:
‘’Acknowledging that the landscape is an important part of the quality of life for people everywhere: in urban areas and in the countryside, in degraded areas as well as in areas of high quality, in areas recognised as being of outstanding beauty as well as everyday areas;’’
This highlights the standpoint against the NPPF that the National Trust have taken.
A large coalition wrote to the UK government and their devolved partners in January 2011 to ensure ongoing commitment to the ELC: http://countryscape.org/sites/default/files/resources/elc/ELC-OpenLetter-UK.pdf
Richard Benyon MP confirmed that the UK government were committed to the ELC, here is his reply: http://countryscape.org/sites/default/files/resources/elc/ELC-Open-Letter-UK-Response.pdf
Whilst it is unfortunate that a large proportion of the English electorate view European based policy with nothing short of disdain, this fails to consider the simple fact that the ELC is a tool to help protect a shared inheritance of a landscape that transcends boundaries, because the geological and geographical processes which created Europe transcend boundaries, as did the populations of Europe in later history. The cultural heritage of England is intrinsically linked to Europe, whether we like it or not.
It is also important to remember that the creation and development of the ELC was the work of many British academics working alongside counterparts from across Europe. As arguments in regards the NPPF sway back and forth mentioning protected landscapes, designations etc., it is important to remember at all times the UK is subject to the legal binding of the ELC, which states:
‘a to recognise landscapes in law as an essential component of people’s surroundings, an expression of the diversity of their shared cultural and natural heritage, and a foundation of their identity;
b to establish and implement landscape policies aimed at landscape protection, management and planning through the adoption of the specific measures set out in Article 6;
c to establish procedures for the participation of the general public, local and regional authorities, and other parties with an interest in the definition and implementation of the landscape policies mentioned in paragraph b above; d to integrate landscape into its regional and town planning policies and in its cultural, environmental, agricultural, social and economic policies, as well as in any other policies with possible direct or indirect impact on landscape.’
Article 5, Chapter II, European Landscape Convention.
Pip Howard Sustainable land manager
An expert in soil, with a history in broadleaved silviculture linked to farming issues. Pip now specialises in site specific planting requirements, including; phytoremediation, urban silviculture and difficult planting sites. European Trees.com