South Pennines Park put on the Government radar

Posted: 26.07.19

Moves to create a South Pennines Park have received a boost from the man charged with reviewing the nation’s designated landscapes.

Last year the Government appointed writer and broadcaster Julian Glover to review England’s network of 44 national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs).

He also accepted an invitation from rural regeneration agency Pennine Prospects to spend a day in the South Pennines – the only upland landscape in England with no legal landscape designation.

During his visit in February he met with community groups, local businesses, utility organisations, students, campaigners and local authorities, who spoke with one voice on the need for greater recognition for this beautiful and distinctive area.

Now he has issued his interim findings in a letter to Secretary of State Michael Gove ahead of the report’s full publication later this year. In it he states he wants to see a wider range of non-designated landscape protection encouraged, giving the South Pennines as an example. He also describes the work being done in the region to establish a park as “impressive”.

Helen Noble, Chief Executive of Pennines Prospects, said:

“Much of the interim report chimes with our thinking on looking at a new, innovative approach to managing our beautiful place and we are pleased to see that Julian Glover singled out the South Pennines to the Government. We have said all along that we do not want to become a traditional national park or AONB, but rather steer a path which puts people first and where conservation lies at the heart of sustainable development. That will allow us to tackle challenges like climate change and social inequality. It’s about achieving the three “R”s – recognition, respect and ultimately resources.”

Last year Pennine Prospects was awarded £183,500 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to improve sustainable management and build the capacity needed to realise the potential to potentially pave the way for a South Pennines Park.

David Renwick, Director of England, North, National Lottery Heritage Fund added:
“The National Lottery Heritage Fund uses National Lottery players’ investment to help the UK’s heritage thrive so that it can benefit people and communities now and for the future. The South Pennines is a special landscape that is not only important in its own right, but also provides so many benefits to the communities in and around it – from absorbing and slowing down flood waters, enhancing wellbeing as we walk amongst its wildlife and breath its clean air, to providing opportunities for volunteering and training which help people of all ages and backgrounds learn new skills. We are delighted to support Pennine Prospects in finding new ways of working on this important but non-designated landscape.”

The South Pennines covers 460 square miles of upland country, bounded by the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales national parks, plus two areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs): Nidderdale and the Forest of Bowland. It is one of the UK’s most celebrated landscapes, embracing parts of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester, with a population of 450,000. Over eight million people live within half an hour’s journey time.

Pictured above: Julian Glover, third from left, meeting with representatives of the local community in February.