UK. Minister Gardiner marks 50 years of Northumberland National Park

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

A government minister has praised efforts to enhance important wildlife habitats, heritage and scenery in the North-East on a visit to the region's National Park.

Barry Gardiner, Minister for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs, planted a tree and unveiled an award for the region's best visitor centre when he visited Northumberland National Park today to mark its 50th anniversary.

The minister saw the results of work to restore bogs which are important carbon sinks, went on a guided walk to Winshields, the highest point on Hadrian's Wall, and visited both the recently award-winning Hadrian's Wall Bus and the Once Brewed Visitor Centre.  The Minister also met a number of local farmers and businesses in the area who have been working with the National Park to secure a sustainable future for their economy.

Mr Gardiner said: "These living landscapes are a source of our most precious resources.

People think of them as timeless but they are actually living and dynamic. At a time when we are consuming resources as if we had three planets to live on instead of one, protecting these special landscapes and helping people enjoy and understand them better, is more vital than ever.

"Our landscapes reflect a relationship between people and places that has evolved over centuries, and here in Northumberland's national park history and heritage are stamped on every feature and landmark."

Mr Gardiner announced on his visit to Northumberland that the UK had today ratified the European Landscape Convention, the first international agreement of its kind.

"Britain is already a world leader in protecting its landscapes, and the Convention is a major step forward.  It will ensure that any change and development is sympathetic and appropriate to the environment, and is designed to help create new landscapes where people want to live and work as well as protecting our most cherished scenery."

Mr Gardiner also visited the village of Blanchland to see how local people and businesses are regenerating their rural community.  During a tour of the village he met specialists who have provided expertise for the North East Rural Estates Framework ,those who integrated the expertise and members of the community who have benefited from the initiative.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 November 2006 )