Don’t forget the South Pennines

Posted: 12.06.18

Pennine Prospects is urging the Government to review the value of all distinctive landscapes in England, whether they are currently designated or not.

The rural regeneration agency for the South Pennines – the only upland landscape in England not protected as a national park or area of outstanding natural beauty – was responding to Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s announcement that a panel led by writer Julian Glover would undertake a review of all designated landscapes in the country.

Pam Warhurst CBE, Pennine Prospects Chair, explained:

“The South Pennines was listed as a landscape worthy of designation in the Dower and Hobhouse reports of the 1940s. That’s why we want to see an inclusive approach to the review and one that is mindful of those distinctive landscapes that have not been afforded the highest level of protection.”

The South Pennines is a unique area spanning Yorkshire and Lancashire and home to historic towns like Hebden Bridge, together with a rich culture and wild peaty hill tops that have proved an inspiration for the Brontes, Ted Hughes and Simon Armitage. It is within one hour’s travel for eight million people and a haven for rare wildlife like the twite, or Pennine finch, plus it boasts over 2,600 miles of paths and bridleways.

Pam Warhurst added:

“After 70 years of campaigning we look forward to a review that explores improving the environment and the economy hand in hand. I hope that the panel is brave enough to explore innovative and inclusive approaches that put people at the heart of their landscape. Do we need a statutory designation, or is there a different way to look after our unique areas?”

Pennine Prospects is working on a UK first plan to create the South Pennines Regional Park. This will provide a focused and effective management body to steer the area’s fortunes. It would be a non-statutory, socially purposed upland park that will champion:

• The importance of the uplands to deliver clear water, carbon capture, flood mitigation and rich habitats.

• Investment in local economies to create inclusive growth and local distinctiveness.

• Increased access for all to the benefits of the open spaces.

This innovative approach to governance and management will provide the flexibility to cope with a changing landscape and galvanise people to think differently about their environment. Pennine Prospects has issued an open invitation to Julian Glover and members of the panel to visit the region on a fact finding mission.

Helen Noble, Chief Executive at Pennine Prospects, commented:

“We are at a watershed moment for our landscapes and its people. The challenges set through the Government’s own 25 year Environment Plan causes us to rethink our investment and engagement strategies around our much loved landscapes. Public investment for public goods, including a truly sustainable health service, environmental net gain and resilient local economies must be at the heart of our management and governance planning in the coming years.”

Yorkshire Water United Utilities Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council National Farmers Union
South Pennines Association Lancashire County Council Pennine Heritage Kirklees Council Calderdale Council
Bradford District Council Northern Rail Natural England Environment Agency The National Trust