The European Union recognises the importance of landscapes and in its European Landscape Convention (ELC) sets out an internationally agreed definition of landscape and key actions that countries should follow.
The ELC provides an integrated, holistic approach and international context for landscape, under the headline banner that "All Landscapes Matter".
The convention is a treaty between states (not an EU Directive) and seeks to influence governments decisions rather than direct them. It was signed by the UK government in 2006, and came into effect in March 2007. The key actions are:
- Recognise landscapes in legislation
- Integrate landscape into sectoral and spatial policies
- Identify and analyse landscapes - describing their character and forces and pressures acting on them
- Assess landscapes - considering what contributes to and detracts from their quality and character
- Establish procedures for the participation of the general public and other stakeholders in the creation and implementation of landscape policies
- Define objectives for landscape quality (after public consultation)
- Develop policies for the protection, management and planning of landscapes.
- Monitor what is happening to landscapes
- Increase awareness of the value of landscape
- Promote landscape training and education
- Seek European cooperation.
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