CLA tells Labour Conference that true value of rural landscapes must be measured

28 September 2015

The CLA made the case for putting an economic value to the benefits of rural landscapes at a Labour Party Conference event on Sunday 27 September.

The CLA represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses. CLA Director of Policy Christopher Price discussed the competing demands on landscapes at a Labour Party Conference fringe event.

Mr Price said: “It is crucial for everyone living in the UK that the true importance of rural land and landscapes – our Natural Capital – is better understood. As a nation we must have the ability to place a measureable economic value on this asset, so that the value of our landscapes be properly factored into decisions about how land is used. Only then can we really compare what we are gaining through protection, or losing to competing priorities. The loss of ancient woodland for the construction of HS2 is a prime example of why this is necessary.”

Also speaking at the event were Shadow Defra Minister Nick Smith, Chair of the National Infrastructure Planning Commission Angus Walker, and Sheila Wren from the John Muir Trust. The discussion was chaired by Chief Executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Shaun Spiers. 

Mr Price highlighted the range of important functions provided by rural land, from food production, flood management and cultural heritage to biodiversity, forestry and carbon sinking. He also called for a greater focus on developing networks for wildlife that enable species to move between different areas.