England’s green and pleasant landscape is the most expensive in the world. The money paid into it for the protection of it per hectare is more than anywhere else on the globe. The land values themselves, even for a patch of consolidated wasteland, would make anyone from anywhere else in the world gasp.
So it should, surely be an exemplar for the world. The range of rich soil, the climate, the abundant sources of knowledge of how to maintain land for the benefit of all and a large customer base of financially secure people, should mean that the English landscape is thriving socially, economically and environmentally. It is far from such.
Why do we see so many hectares of land which can only be maintained into perpetuity by volunteers and charity funding? Land management industries are on their knees, poorly paid, with little investment. And there is still a rapid and scary decline in wildlife – forecast to only get worse!
The polarisation between the conservationists and the shooting, farming lobbyists and / or developers (all as right wing as each other) is extreme and widening day by day. In the middle the media roam wild taking sniper shots at different interest groups to keep this long running war going.
Combine this polarisation with the disparity of wealth between protected landscapes and everyday landscapes and it is obvious that with Brexit thrown in also the perfect storm looms large on the horizon.
At this crucial moment therefore, it is absolutely vital to stop the continuation of lies that have layered the landscape and guide so many commentators towards making statements that risk actually being listened to, or worse – acted on. Although I fear that much damage has already been done – landscapes have clearly been divided up, resulting in a disparity that sees the landscapes of the wealthy also receiving the majority of available funding.
When, and lets be frank here, dangerous ideas such as Biodiversity Offsetting, Re-Wilding and a plethora of other anti social at best, deeply misanthropic at worse, actually become goals of many national NGOs, even Quangos, on top of having dismantled and redesigned the European Landscape Convention into ‘The Landscape Declaration’ , we are looking at straightforward fascism.
Community simply means Volunteers to many, if not most, commentators, PR teams and others linked to NGOs and Quangos seeking grants, publicity and writing policy briefs.
The monopolisation of sectors by the NGOs furthers this fascism. How can an National organisation pretend to be helping campaign for community woodland or street trees, by way of inviting stories, celebrating trees etc., when at the end of the day it has centralised policy, which cannot reflect the plethora of local interests of any particular tree or even woodland. If they are offered cash to provide suitable replacement trees (and you cannot replace a tree! it accrues value, it is not a car!) – they will take it and in doing so usurp the right for a local person to campaign for their tree.
There is a growing amount of commentary highlighting the problems, it cannot continue to be hidden by the PR teams, but they will try. Social media accounts are ‘blocked and spammed’, trolling and payments made to google advertising to affect search listings. It is all very similar to the campaign pre EU referendum or the US election. I know because I have had it done to me!
Our landscapes have long been in the ‘post truth’ era, fake news is rife. It is those, the majority of people and the majority of our natural features and wildlife, in everyday landscapes who are forsaken in favour of ensuring the protected landscapes win all.
The everyday landscape is not under threat – it is being destroyed. Look no further than the slaughter against advice of Sheffields’ trees – which are then supplied as biomass for power to be sold back to those who have had their trees stolen from them. With fracking, the poor positioning of solar farms, wind farms etc., non protected landscapes really are nothing else but a potential energy source.