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Landscape's the setting for tackling climate change, obesity and quality of life – University of Reading

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Landscape's the setting for tackling climate change, obesity and quality of life

Release Date 26 September 2006

Pressures on the greenbelt, obesity and climate change will all impact on and be helped by our landscape in the future, according to professionals who met to try to forecast the future of our landscape and how people will relate to it at the halfway point of the 21st century. As climate change has increasingly obvious effects on the planet the Landscape 2050 conference, organised by the University of Reading and the Landscape Institute, considered some of the key land use issues that the UK will aim to address in the next few years. Richard Bisgrove, senior lecturer in landscape management at the University of Reading, opened the day by questioning how our wants for the landscape will match those of the next generation. "People's minds change constantly as we learn to live with changing circumstances," he said. "The reality is that we can only influence the landscape, as proven by initiatives such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and greenbelt, but we can't fully dictate the future of the land. "It's important to recognise this and to ensure that we try to leave a legacy which protects certain types of land but allows the next generation the flexibility to respond to changes in their lives and the environment." Other topical issues raised included farming. With around 75% of England and Wales managed by 162,000 farmers the conference debated farmers' influence on landscapes, overshadowed by the power of organisations such as supermarkets who know little about the land. While the popularity of organic foods is beginning to address this Richard Hirst, National Farmers Union, pointed out that: "there isn't the capacity or the will for it to be a broad market." Our landscape also has the ability to combat health issues such as obesity. Providing good foods is one thing but recreation takes place on the land and better quality public spaces with good facilities would help more people to tackle obesity without even noticing, speakers pointed out. "The day brought lots of important topics into a debate among professional practitioners," said Nigel Thorne, LI president. "The LI will be exploring how we can work with other parties such as housing developers and government to ensure that the quality and volume of development in the landscape can be improved to address some of these important long range issues of sustainability and quality of life." -ends- Photography is available on request Media contact: Dawn Barnes T: 020 7299 4537 E: Notes to Editors: The Landscape Institute is the chartered professional body for landscape architects in the UK; it was founded in 1929 and was awarded a Royal Charter of incorporation in 1997. The Institute works to maintain and improve high professional standards through education and development and to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for the benefit of the public by promoting the arts and sciences of landscape architecture. For further information visit the website visit

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