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A New Lease Of Life For The Uplands?

The Campaign for National Parks - -  has welcomed a new vision for the English uplands which restates the government’s commitment to National Parks and sets out how it will ensure the future sustainability of the uplands. The Uplands Policy Review shows how thriving communities are inextricably linked with their surrounding environment, and vice versa. National Parks and the authorities that run them can play a crucial role in bringing these ideas to life. Park Authorities already have a good overview of how the economy, communities and environment interact within each Park and are well placed to broker and sustain the vital links between farmers and everyone who benefits from good land management. Ruth Chambers, Deputy Chief Executive at the Campaign for National Parks, said, "We warmly welcome the government’s continued commitment to the role of the National Parks, including their work to maintain vibrant, living and working communities and on tackling climate change. The government has also recognised that sustainable development is inherent in the work of the National Parks. As we approach the twenty year anniversary of the Rio Declaration, which first brought sustainable development into the international spotlight, we believe that it is timely to review whether any changes need to be made to reflect the importance of sustainable development in the management of National Parks." Christine Reid, uplands specialist at the Campaign for National Parks, added, "The ‘big idea’ in the government’s policy statement is to move towards a system of paying farmers for work that they do to improve the uplands for the benefit of society – we strongly support this principle and believe that it will benefit communities and economies as well as the environment. The neat idea of combining potential new private funds with existing agri-environment payments could provide more support for farmers. For example, United Utilities and other water companies are already paying farmers for tree planting, peatland restoration and appropriate grazing, where this will reduce soil erosion that clogs up reservoirs. The Government must help other schemes like this to get off the ground." The Campaign for National Parks is the national charity that campaigns to protect and promote National Parks of England and Wales, and celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2011; seven out of ten of the English National Parks are in upland areas. Upland lakes provide up to 70% of our drinking water and upland peat soils store the largest amounts of carbon in the UK. 75% of uplands are designated as being of national importance for wildlife and landscapes. Photo: Tree planting at  Caldbeck in the Lake District. Credit: LDNPA