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European Landscape Convention Workshops - January 2009

The ELC England Project Group (chaired by Defra) has agreed that it would be useful to outline how implementation of the ELC can benefit organisations including guidance on the preparation of ELC Action Plans.  To help develop this approach Natural England has commissioned Land Use Consultants to produce a set of guidelines.  

Two participatory workshops took place in January 2009:
London    January 13th
York        January  28th

The workshops attracted nearly 70 people from a wide variety of organisations including government agencies, regional government, local authorities, private practice, universities, national park and AONB organisations.

The purpose of the workshops was to raise awareness of the ELC and show how individual organisations can take action to implement the Convention (in line with the England Implementation Plan); and to test the draft ELC guidance.

The workshops showed considerable goodwill and support for the approach and organisations welcome guidance on incorporating the ELC into plans, policies and strategies.  Many organisations expressed an interest in producing an ELC Action Plan.

The discussion and comments are recorded in the workshop notes below. 

In summary:

  • Guidelines must be simple, plain English interpretation of the ELC, but must not loose the flexibility, wide scope and 'inspiration' of the Convention;
  • The guidelines must connect with organisations at their own level - by highlighting the benefits to organisations of engaging with the ELC and identifying key relevant drivers; 
  • There are considerable benefits of having simple, generic guidance at the outset although this could in due course be targeted to individual organisations; 
  • Flexibility and adaptability is a key requirement allowing organisations to tailor the guidance to their own needs; it should not be overly rigid or prescriptive;
  • The guidance needs to be developed and 'packaged' as a suite of information (rather than a single report) with initial engaging/awareness raising on the ELC followed by more detailed applications; 
  • NE has an important role in awareness raising/communication in relation to landscape generally and the ELC in particular;
  • There is a need to engage the less usual suspects (i.e. not landscape professionals) for example regional government, health authorities, homes and communities agency/housebuilders in the ELC.

The briefing information, workshop presentations and workshop notes are available below.

For further information on the project contact:

Gary Charlton, Natural England on 01242 533264
Kate Ahern, Land Use Consultants on 0207 3835784