APRIL 3, 2009: Protecting beautiful landscapes for everyone has to be at the heart of government thinking, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

The group made the comment on the 60th anniversary of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, which gave landscapes priority. Tom Oliver, head of Rural Policy at CPRE, claimed that when the act was given its second reading in March 1949, the power of beautiful places to lift the human spirit was recognised by the country’s leaders. However, this was something that now needed to be recognised by today’s leaders. ‘Sixty years ago, this country was lucky enough to be led by forward-thinking people across the political spectrum, who knew the power for good of beautiful places,’ he explained. ‘Today’s leaders need to re-affirm their determination to keep our special places that way, celebrate their value and to extend and improve them for all our sakes.’ Every year many millions of people find tranquillity and inspiration in the UK’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and those who live within them benefit from thriving economies supported by their surroundings. This and the revival of home-grown tourism, CPRE claimed, makes it essential to ensure Britain’s beautiful and memorable places to visit. ‘But the very things which make our finest landscapes so special and effective are threatened by short-term and ill-conceived pressure for development from every quarter,’ Tom warned. ‘This includes poorly located leisure developments, intrusive energy infrastructure including wind turbines and electricity pylons, damaging road schemes and a lack of adequate investment in upland farming. ‘Today’s leaders need to re-affirm their determination to keep our special places that way.’

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