South Pennines Park put on Government's radar

A vision to create a self-declared South Pennines Park, which would take in parts of Calderdale, has been reaffirmed following the Government’s response to a report on the future of the nation’s designated landscapes.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 2:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 2:34 pm
Walker takes a rest to admire the South Pennine’s unique landscape. Picture: Steve Morgan.

DEFRA has released its initial response to recommendations made by the Glover Review on the way forward for the most iconic areas of England and Wales.

Ministers have pledged to encourage greater accessibility to national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty and boost nature and habitat recovery.

Pennine Prospects has welcomed these commitments.

It is now talking with the Government and Natural England on another key Glover recommendation – that alternative models of landscape management should also be supported.

Helen Noble, Chief Executive of Pennine Prospects, explained: “All landscapes have value and the Glover report cited the South Pennines as a prime candidate for a different approach, recognising it’s the only upland region in England not given a legal designation.

"When we met the review team we made clear we are seeking to develop a very different, partnership led and more collaborative kind of park. It will be the first of its kind in the UK, truly accessible, allowing people to reconnect with nature and giving residents a greater say in the future.

"We have opened a dialogue with Government to pave the way for that vision. Our aim is to augment and move beyond the work of our neighbouring protected landscapes. But it is crucial we secure both recognition and a share of resources.

"Working together we can create something very special in the South Pennines, pioneering an approach that can be replicated elsewhere.”

The South Pennines Park would span 460 square miles of Yorkshire, eastern Lancashire and Greater Manchester, including much of Calderdale.

Within its boundaries lays a celebrated landscape of wilderness and urban fringes, with thriving communities and a proud industrial heritage. Home to 660,000 people, it is also an escape for millions of others from surrounding urban areas.

The move is spearheaded by Pennine Prospects and supported by the region’s local authorities, utility companies, National Trust, community groups and other organisations.

More details of the ambitious plans will be revealed later this summer.