Academic highlights forgotten European Landscape Convention and opportunities for positive planning


Alister Scott, Professor of Environmental and Spatial Planning at Birmingham City University, will join an academic from the University of Sheffield today to address the need to mainstream the European Landscape Convention in UK Planning Policy and Practice. The E-CLIC EU National Conference provides a forum to help raise the profile and awareness of the European Landscape Convention.

The European Landscape Convention (ELC) is the first international convention to focus specifically on landscape. Created by the Council of Europe, the convention promotes landscape protection, management and planning, and European co-operation on landscape issues. It also recommends government action to recognise the importance of landscape in law.

Signed by the UK Government in February 2006, the ELC became binding from March 2007. It highlights the importance of developing landscape policies dedicated to the protection, management and creation of landscapes and establishing procedures for the general public and other stakeholders to participate in policy creation and implementation.

The 'European Landscape Convention Lecture' at The Royal Society of Edinburgh on Friday 10 October, will see Professor Scott discuss a lack of awareness of the ELC amongst the public and professionals alike. However, his main focus is on the planning profession.

"The current National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and associated guidance does not mention the ELC once in policy or its technical appendices, yet landscapes form a core component of the planning system and placemaking," said Professor Scott.

"Planners are not aware of the ELC or how to use it positively in policy terms. There is a missing link here as the Convention defines landscape as an area as perceived by people, meaning that people need to be placed at the heart of landscape thinking and policy. It seems to me that the landscape agenda has been downplayed with a focus on biodiversity and protecting designated landscapes rather than considering positive interventions in all landscapes including our most urban and deprived."

"Interestingly Scotland seems to have a better foundation in their planning system and it suggests that we need better cross-national talking about sharing good practice."

Also speaking at the event will be Dr Olaf Schroth, Lecturer in Landscape Planning at the University of Sheffield.

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