Dartmoor Preservation Association
Friends of Dartmoor
Charities across the UK are today joining forces to campaign for the protection and enhancement of our treasured landscapes.
Encompassing 27 national and regional organisations, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, National Trust, British Mountaineering Council and Wilderness Foundation, the coalition is believed to be the largest ever to be formed on this issue.
Ahead of May’s general election, the coalition aims to raise the profile of landscape and to emphasise the importance of landscapes to our wellbeing, environment and economy.
With ongoing speculative development in and around sensitive areas, such as National Parks and AONBs, the varied group of organisations believes that it is vital for future government policy and funding to reflect the extraordinary value of landscapes.
The Landscapes for Everyone vision is supported in parliament today by Natural Environment Minister Lord de Mauley, Shadow Minister for Natural Environment Barry Gardiner MP, and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environmental Affairs Baroness Parminter. The vision calls for better landscapes for people, better planning for landscape and better places for nature.
CLICK HERE to read the Landscapes for Everyone leaflet.
Earlier this year the Government consulted on introducing changes to Section 106 planning agreements, proposing a threshold of ten units, below which planning authorities would not be able to require that developments contained an "affordable" component. As most housing developments in the National Parks tend to be small infill sites, the imposition of a threshold would seriously jeopardise the provision of sustainable affordable housing to meet local needs.
Over the last week, this issue has received a lot of attention. First, England's ten National parks wrote a joint letter to Communities Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, asking the Government to exempt National Parks from the proposed Section 106 changes.
On the same day, Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes, raised the issue in a House of Commons debate, asking the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for CLG whether he was aware that introducing a threshold "could halve the ability of the authority for the national park that I represent, Dartmoor, to deliver affordable housing, including social housing?" In response, Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West stated: "Yes, I and my ministerial colleagues certainly are aware of the special concerns about providing affordable homes in national parks. That is why, in the consultation, we have proposed a different threshold for national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty from that for urban areas." In reality, of course, any threshold would undermine the provision of affordable housing in the National Parks.
The issue was raised again when Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning attended the Council meeting of the Campaign for National Parks on 13th November. After talking to the Council about the importance of the National Parks, he took a number of questions, including one on the proposed Section 106 threshold. In replying, Mr. Lewis confirmed that he understood the issue, was still considering it and intended to respond before Christmas.
Wednesday 12th November: The Land Army
The Ballroom, Princetown Visitor Centre: 7.30pm
£5 to cover nibbles and donation to the Women in Food and Farming
Sue Virgin, social historian will be giving a talk on the role of the Land Girl and Lumber Gill services throughout the First and Second World Wars.
Proceeds from this talk will be used by Women in Food and Farming to raise money for a statue to recognise the work of the two services to be placed in the National Arboretum of Remembrance, Staffordshire.
Dartmoor National Park Authority is seeking views on a new code of conduct for cycling within the National Park. The new code provides a simple set of guidelines aimed at encouraging responsible cycling for both on and off road cyclists.
The National Park produces codes for all the most popular activities on Dartmoor and with a huge increase in the use of the moor and its road network for cycling there is a need for guidance and information on awareness.
Dartmoor provides many opportunities to enjoy both on road and off road cycling, from quiet lanes, designated cycle routes (including the Granite Way, Princetown Railway and the Wray Valley Trail) and an extensive network of bridleways for off road cycling.