Hay Festival 2012: Simon Jenkins: I cannot believe we allow wind farms to be built in areas of natural beauty’
Simon Jenkins, the Chairman of the National Trust has said current planning laws do not do enough to protect our most beautiful green spaces.
The countryside should be graded in the same way as listed buildings, according to Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust.
Sir Simon said current planning laws do not do enough to protect our most beautiful green spaces.
He said local authorities should grade landscape from one to six, according to how beautiful it is, as well how often the public use it for leisure and how important it is for wildlife.
“If you graded the countryside it would be easier to save it,” he said.
The National Trust recently led a campaign, alongside the Daily Telegraph, to ensure that new planning laws take into account the ‘intrinsic value of the countryside’.
However, Sir Simon said the rules are still not strong enough.
In a talk at the Telegraph Hay Festival to commemorate the centenary of the founder of the National Trust, Octavia Hill, he said Britain is in danger of becoming ‘increasingly ugly” as a consequence of wind farms, pylons and other developments.
He said grading landscapes would make it clear to developers which areas are untouchable and therefore save time for everyone.
“I cannot believe we have so little concern for the beauty of the landscape to allow wind farms to be built in areas of outstanding beauty,” he said.
Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust, agreed that countryside is more under threat than ever due to housing pressure.
She called for the idea of ‘beauty’ to be brought back into public planning discourse around the countryside, as it is so important for the physical and mental health of the nation.
She said planning authorities must take more account of the ‘beauty’ of the landscape in the new local plans, drawn up to determine future development of each area under the new rules.
“The idea of beauty needs to be revived in planning,” she said. “We would like to see beauty recognised in policy and practice.”
Do you think it would be a good idea to grade landscape like listed buildings?
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