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 Qataris pledge to expand Canary Wharf
- 2 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 3 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 4 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
- 5 Watch eerie drone footage of destroyed building in Stalingrad
#JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
UK election candidates: 'Nasty party' Ukip faces fresh questions on eve of vote
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party's the right choice for you
Ohio 'Shawshank Redemption' fugitive Frank Freshwater arrested after 56 years on the run
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General election live: Booths open at 7am across the country on polling day
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...