Letter: Heal our ruined countryside

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The Independent Online
Sir: At last, there is some hope that farming will lead naturally to a healthy and distinctive landscape, as it did until the post-war era ("Europe to end farms madness", 9 July).

The past 50 years have been a disaster for the English countryside. We need to recognise that the continuing loss of historic landscape features can no longer be sustained, and to give them an equivalent level of protection to that enjoyed by other aspects of our heritage.

In the 1950s and 1960s historic buildings were being destroyed at an astounding rate. Nowadays planning regulations, particularly the listing of buildings, prevent this. The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to "support traditional extensive farming" affords an opportunity to protect what remains of the English landscape. It should be as nearly impossible to grub out a 16th-century hedgerow as it is to pull down a Georgian street.

THOMAS DENNY

Hinton St Mary, Dorset

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