Future Landscapes Wales and the missing C-word

‘Conservation’ and other National Park purposes missing

The long-awaited report of the Future Landscapes Wales programme was published today: Future Landscapes; Delivering for Wales‘ report.

The report includes statements of commitment to National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty by Welsh Government and the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths; such commitment is welcome.

There is little scope for comment on the report’s content.  It is a deeply confusing document, rich in jargon but with little substance.  Even after reading it 5 or 6 times it is hard to pin down what it is trying to say; it would undoubtedly benefit from greater clarity.

Of greater concern is what is missing from the document.

Sixty years of work have vanished into thin air – the six decades of work and collaboration driven by the National Parks’ statutory purposes –

to conserve natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage and to promote opportunities for  public understanding and enjoyment of those special qualities

We searched the Future Landscapes document for the key words in National Parks’ existing purposes – ‘natural beauty’, ‘conservation’, ‘wildlife’, ‘cultural heritage’ ‘enjoyment’ ‘access’, ‘recreation’

None of the words occurs in the body of the document.  ‘Conservation’ is the C-word spectacularly missing from the Future Landscapes document.

Furthermore the Future Landscapes report is deliberately misleading on a key point.  It purports to summarise the detailed  independent report produced by the Marsden panel in 2015 (Review of Designated Landscapes in Wales), but fails to mention one of Marsden’s key recommendations – that the Sandford Principle must continue to apply, thereby ensuring that conservation remains the primary purpose of National Parks and AONBs

We need more than ever to know that some places will be properly protected and managed.  If the ‘Future Landscapes:Delivering for Wales’ report launched today is a roadmap for the protected landscapes of Wales then we are well and truly lost.

Read background and see more resources on our Future Landscapes Wales campaign page

Cregennan: image copyright Steve Lewis


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