UK ratifies European Landscape Convention
Natural England welcomes the ratification by the UK government of the Council of Europe's European Landscape Convention (ELC) - the first international convention to focus specifically on landscape.
The ELC provides a basis for closer co-operation on landscape issues across Europe. For example, it will help raise best practice in the planning, protection and management of landscapes.
Natural England will be working with the government and others in England and across the UK to develop an implementation strategy to help promote and develop the principles of the ELC further, through our own work and advice, and with stakeholders and the public.
The ELC defines landscape as ‘an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors’. It is based on the premise that landscape, whatever quality, whether rural or urban, built or natural, should be recognised, understood and fully integrated into policy and decision-making.
It recognises that landscape has important cultural, ecological, environmental and social dimensions and is a key element of achieving sustainable development.
Natural England’s Director of Policy, Andrew Wood, said: “This is good news for landscape and Natural England. Effective, forward looking sustainable planning and management of landscapes everywhere will be at the heart of Natural England’s work, for the delivery of a better natural environment and the wider benefits that distinctive landscapes brings to people and places.”
The UK is recognised as already putting much of the principles of the ELC into practice. Our distinctive landscapes contribute to our identity and reflect local cultural influences as well as ecological diversity. This is shown through the Joint Character Area map of England and also through the well established practice of using landscape character assessment to inform local policy making.
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