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Country News - 2005

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New countryside watchdog under attack - already

Monday 14 February 2005

GOVERNMENT plans to form a brand new countryside watchdog by combining existing agencies is already under widespread attack - and the proposals were only published last Thursday.

The new body would take over the existing roles of English Nature and parts of the Countryside Agency - held in high esteem by many country folk - but several critics have already pointed out that powers to protect important landscape have been left out of its remit.

And one of its harshest critics, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, says that it is in danger of failing because it is "fatally compromised by trying to have things every way."

Tom Oliver, heads of CPRE rural policy, commented: "We've always strongly supported the Government's expressed intentions to improve the management and protection of the natural environment.

"But unless the Integrated Agency is clearly given the job of protecting landscape as well as wildlife, the natural environment will actually be far less protected than before.

"The cause of conserving and enhancing our cherished landscapes and the wildlife which lives in it will get no easier in the future. The last thing we need is an organisation paralysed by conflicting demands "


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