Monday, 5 September 2011

Beautiful and useful

I spent a lovely couple of days in the North York Moors for my birthday last month (21 and a bit since you ask). We didn't even get rained on much. It's an untamed and beautiful landscape and I hadn't really given much thought to the benefits that we get from it - beyond the obvious aesthetic enjoyment. But of course, increasingly, we need more and more from our limited allocation of land in the UK and areas like the uplands provide us with some of the real essentials - not just food but water, carbon storage and renewable energy. Efficiency is everything, even for ecology. So how can we squeeze more from these landscapes? If farmers collaborated, that would help - scale is usually a factor in efficiency - but there is little tradition of this in the UK. Relu's latest policy and practice note for local government is a rallying cry to national parks to provide a lead and they are well-positioned to do so. Perhaps these beautiful, wild landscapes provide an example for us all. They will be providing a focus for discussion at the Relu/Northern Rural Network event on 14 September where the note will be launched.

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