Could development destroy the Dales?
ENGLAND'S countryside is being blighted at an enormous rate by development and could be gone entirely in 80 years time, says a major report issued this week. And although the Yorkshire Dales are amongst the quietest places in the UK, they are still under threat.
These are the conclusions of an in-depth investigation by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which says tha half of the countryside is already disturbed by noise and development from roads, towns and airports - and 320 square miles of land are "being overshadowed by urban intrusion every year."
This disturbed area has doubled in size since 1960 and Yorkshire and Humberside alone has lost 530 square miles - twice the area of Leeds - since the 1990s. And although North Yorkshire and the East Riding are still in the top ten of England's undisturbed areas, "the rest of the region is fragmented and largely disturbed."
Says CPRE chief executive Shaun Spiers: "Countryside which is undisturbed by noise and development is vital for the quality of life and well-being. The findings of this research are a wake-up call for the Government.
"It must strengthen policy to protect the remaining areas of undisturbed land and protect it for future generations."
Sadly, many countryside campaigners fear such views will fall on deaf ears for Government policy under Gordon Brown includes the building of millions of new homes and even new towns, an estimated 40% of them on greenfield sites.