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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 23:57 GMT 00:57 UK
'Threat' to natural beauty sites
Lake District
A by-pass in the Lake District was criticised by the CPRE
Beauty spots at nine sites throughout England are under threat from building and road developments, the Campaign to Protect Rural England says.

The environmental lobby group said Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty were among locations under threat because rules were ignored.

Describing nine "jewels in the crown", it said proposals involved a football stadium, bypasses and a race track.

It claimed local councils and government were "tearing up the rules".

"The whole basis on which the nation's most beautiful countryside is there to be enjoyed by us all is called into question by a series of damaging proposals," said Tom Oliver, head of rural policy at the CPRE.

Obeying the rules

"Protected landscapes are only protected to the extent that the government and local authorities obey their own rules.

"Time and again, it appears that the government or a local council is tearing up the rules when a significant conflict arises between one of our finest landscapes and another interest," Mr Oliver said.

"We have to ask, 'What is the point of having laws that protect our precious countryside if they are ignored when it really matters?'"

CPRE said its list included the A590 High and Low Newton Bypass, which "got the go-ahead despite running for its entire length through the Lake District National Park."

The other eight were:

  • Derbyshire: Proposal to renew activity at Backdale Quarry, north of Great Longstone in the Peak District National Park. Inquiry awaited
  • Devon: Plan to develop Dunkeswell Racing Circuit affecting the Blackdown Hills AONB. Partly approved but full planning decision awaited
  • Dorset: Plans to bypass a stretch of the A354 north of Weymouth which the CPRE says would damage the South Dorset Ridgeway and the Bincombe Valley in the Dorset AONB. Concerns for Dorset Wildlife Trust's Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve, ancient woodland in the Woodland Trust's Two Mile Coppice, and an area of archaeological interest. Planning application published
  • Kent: Plans for housing and science park in the Kent Downs AONB. Proposal
  • Peak District: Plans to upgrade the Mottram-Tintwistle bypass. Public inquiry expected
  • Lincolnshire: Wind farm at Fen Farm, near Conisholme. CPRE believes it will cause "visual intrusion" into the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB. Approved
  • Northumberland: Proposed wind farm at Plenmeller near Haltwhistle considered by the CPRE to be a "visual intrusion" to North Pennines AONB. Planning application expected
  • Sussex: New stadium for Brighton and Hove Albion FC and transport interchange at Falmer, within Sussex Downs AONB, proposed new national park. Permission granted subject to legal challenge

What's your reaction to the report? Have you visited the nine "jewels"? What is your favourite site? Send us your comments using the link below.

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