Landscape guardians seek harmonious change: Foundation aims to mediate between protesters and developers. David Nicholson-Lord reports
The Landscape Foundation, which includes Tory peers and leading conservationists and landscape designers on its board, plans to act as an 'environmental Acas' - a reference to the Government's employment conciliation service.
By mediating between developers and protesters in controversial developments such as roads, dams and power stations, it hopes to create 'structures which are as beautiful as the landscape which surrounds them'.
TheEarl of Lindsay, the foundation's chairman and a Conservative spokesman in the House of Lords on landscape issues, said the group's founders were 'convinced that the environmental impact of change need not be the disaster some predict'.
Among the founders are Lord Pym and Earl Jellicoe, former senior Conservative ministers, David Puttnam, a former president of the Council for the Protection of Rural England, and leaders of the Landscape Institute, the professional body of landscape architects. Its patron is Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, the distinguished landscape architect.
Developments singled out for praise for their 'harmony' with nature include the JCB factory at Rocester in Staffordshire, the Sainsbury Savacentre on the banks of the river Wandle at Collier's Wood, south-west London, the Megget reservoir in the Scottish borders, housing in Long Acre in Covent Garden, London, and stretches of the M4 motorway in Berkshire. 'Even motorways can have a beauty of their own if they are sensitively aligned, follow the landform and are imaginatively planted,' it adds.
However, members of the foundation denied setting themselves up as 'apologists' for development. They attacked the Government for 'crazy' road schemes such as Oxleas Wood in south- east London and the M3 extension at Twyford Down outside Winchester and criticised the Department of Transport's decision to disband its landscape advisory committee. Lord Pym supported criticisms of Twyford Down, adding: 'Everyone has reservations about aspects of roads policy. It is the quality of the development that matters.
'If there was a much greater public awareness of that I suspect there would have been a tunnel under Twyford Down.'
Hal Moggridge, a former president of the Landscape Institute, said that the long-term impact of Twyford Down on the city of Winchester could be very serious. He added: 'There is little doubt that places which are beautiful do better economically.'
The foundation hopes to become a landscape version of the Royal Fine Arts Commission and is planning a pounds 350,000 exhibition on Britain's landscape movement at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It will also sponsor awards, scholarships and research into issues such as the design of power lines, waste incinerators and rural industries.
It argues that business will provide the extra money needed to preserve landscapes - for instance through a 'toll' tunnel at Twyford Down.
Lord Lindsay said the 'great sadness' of Twyford was that if the scheme had been delayed for another two or three years, a private sector tunnel would have been built.
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 4 AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Search for plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore suspended overnight
- 5 Game of Thrones is most-pirated TV show of 2014
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Search for plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore suspended overnight
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...