The Government published its long-awaited response to the Glover Landscapes Review in January, but Helen Noble, Chief Executive of South Pennines Park, believes the current proposals don’t go far enough.
The South Pennines Park straddles the Pennines between Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, from the Peak District to the Yorkshire Dales, and covers 460 sq. miles. It is the only upland in England that is not a designated National Park or Area of Outstanding Beauty. Over 8 million people live within 30 minutes of the park and more than 660,000 live in it — twice the population of all 10 English National Parks put together.
Helen said: “We need a network of landscapes that work together across the country. The current National Parks and AONBs structure doesn’t go far enough.
“All our landscapes play a crucial role in mitigating the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss, whether they are in a National Park or not. So, it’s vital that landscapes like the South Pennines Park, are considered part of the plan when it comes to facing some of the big challenges.
“What’s more, a national landscape network that has a ground-up approach, working with communities, could offer a valuable opportunity to pool resources and collaboratively tackle issues such as poor air quality, flood mitigation, livelihood crises and human environmental damage.
“The pandemic demonstrated how important all our different landscapes— not just the National Parks — are for our health and wellbeing, and it is vital that communities have the resources and support to adapt accordingly.
“The Government must look again and go further. It needs to be bolder and engage with other landscapes, including those like the South Pennines.”