No, really, we don't want more of Wales now, do we?

Michael Gove has the right sort of idea on many things, Brexit and civil liberties for example. But then there’s also a certain amount of virtue signalling. As in this terrible idea for more National Parks.

What ails Britain is not that we’ve got too little of the country protected from anyone doing anything with it. Rather the contrary in fact.

A new wave of national parks could be created after Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced plans for a review of the protected areas.

The review, which will also consider areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs), will look at how they can boost wildlife, improve visit access and support the people who live and work there.

A useful idea might be not imposing yet more rules upon how people can live and work there:

Officials stressed that existing protections would not be weakened and indicated the review would consider whether there is scope for the current network of 34 AONBs and 10 national parks to expand.

Land upon which people may do things is the item in short supply, isn’t it?

Mr Gove said: “The creation of national parks almost 70 years ago changed the way we view our precious landscapes – helping us all access and enjoy our natural world.

“We want to make sure they are not only conserved, but enhanced for the next generation.

“Are we properly supporting all those who live in, work in, or want to visit these magnificent places? Should we indeed be extended our areas of designated land?”

He added: “I want Julian explicitly to consider, how we can extend and improve the protection we give to other precious landscapes”.

If landscapes are precious then those who think they are can bloody pay for them by buying them. Then giving up the profit to be made by despoiling them. Rather than that value being confiscated off the current owners by legislative fiat.

At which point I shall offer a deal. I know, so magnanimous of me. But it’s a fair deal, a useful one, one I recommend to the House.

You have your national parks, your areas of outstanding natural beauty. Then we abolish the planning laws in all areas outside them. You’ve got what you think is special protected and the rest of us can get on with building the country we’d like to live in. One that’s rather richer, by virtue of not having some twat in Whitehall planning what we may do and where.

Deal?

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Spike
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Gove is not so much virtue-signalling as saying what an Environment Secretary has to say. The net effect is a review of the national parks, with a view toward increasing their usability. If he’s generally right-minded, one result could be a finding that some lands that are protected don’t need to be. As always, the Enviros will scream bloody murder, but perhaps a new idea will be on the table despite them. I agree with the thesis, though. Acknowledging that there are large spaces where visitors can pretend to visit a planet without humans, we ought to allow the rest… Read more »

Bongo
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Bongo

I like the last suggestion of declaring a free for all on non-protected areas as a fair compromise. On National Parks we can pull up tripadvisor ratings on things to do in the UK and with the exception of the Lakes, Pembroke Coast, the Broads and the New Forest, National Parks are dreadful place not treasured by the public at all. The worst of the lot is Exmoor. Of the top 50 tripadvisor’s things to do outdoors in Somerset and Devon, not a single one is in Exmoor, not one single frigging one. There’s plenty of action around the perimeter’s… Read more »