New report puts upland landscapes centre stage for UK carbon and water strategy

Posted: Friday 25th June 2010

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) welcomes the emphasis on carbon storage and water management in a new report published today (Tuesday) by the CRC on the challenges facing England’s upland areas which contain almost three quarters of our most valued landscapes. The latest in a long line of reports, CPRE hopes its recommendations can now be transformed into actions by the new Ministers in DEFRA and DECC.

However, while recognising the need for creative ways to provide new affordable housing, CPRE this needs to be taken forward as part of the of the planning system, rather than by bypassing it.

Ian Woodhurst, Senior Rural Policy Officer for CPRE, says: “The intrinsic value of our upland landscapes is demonstrated by the fact that 74 per cent of them are designated National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This report rightly recognises the important role our uplands have in tackling future challenges whether it’s providing food, water management or carbon capture.”

Upland peatlands currently store 200 million tonnes of carbon. With poor land management this carbon could be lost, but managed well, peatlands will remain an important carbon sink. Uplands also provide 70 per cent of UK drinking water and better land management, will help to maintain and improve the quality of our water and mitigate increasing flood risks.

Ian Woodhurst continued: “We need to banish the negative mind set many people have when thinking about upland communities. They are not just disadvantaged, declining and remote. They have a vital role in helping to tackle the nation’s future environmental challenges. But, for them to be capable of delivering this role we need close partnership working between upland communities, Government departments and agencies, local authorities, businesses and environmental organisations. This will give them a truly environmentally sustainable future.”

Jack Ellerby, Policy Officer for CPRE Cumbria Branch - Friends of the Lake District, says: "Our upland areas are an asset not a 'disadvantage'. The true economic, social and environmental worth of our uplands has been overlooked. We hope the Inquiry Report will raise greater awareness of their huge value to the nation, allowing more opportunities for viable local communities and businesses based upon sustainable land management."

Andy Tickle, Head of Planning for local CPRE branch Friends of the Peak District, says: “The CRC’s recommendation that local planning authorities audit and stimulate opportunities for renewable energy, both on-farm and through community projects, is really welcome. There are many forms of suitably scaled schemes, including hydropower, biomass and anaerobic digestion, that can provide much needed green energy and plough profits back into the uplands”.

Report available from Commission for Rural Communities:

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