The White Paper describes the context and evolution of ‘national parks’, their enabling legislation in these islands and globally, and the specific ‘unique’ case of Northern Ireland in this regard. LINI encourages DOE to follow through its desire to further develop the case of ‘national parks’ in Northern Ireland. It is recognised in Northern Ireland that the title ‘national park’ is itself problematic (a combination of ‘national’ – with complicated meanings in Northern Ireland; and ‘park’ – alluding to pleasure grounds for city dwellers rather than the Irish / Northern Irish historic evolution of land ownership and eking out a living). The term ‘national park’ is not used in France. LINI encourages a more appropriate term be initiated in Northern Ireland, suggesting ‘Valued Landscape’ as a more adequate and acceptable alternative. Current landscape ‘designation’ in Northern Ireland exists in the form of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Conservation Areas (CA), both of which designations have through the years commendably begun to develop into ‘management’ systems rather than requirements for ‘protection’. However, coverage of Northern Ireland by AONB and CA is sporadic. The ELC requires that landscape recognition covers entire regions, a process which has already been enacted in Northern Ireland with the NI Landscape Character Assessment (NILCA) carried out in 2000. This process as required by the ELC should provide landscape management for the whole landscape of Northern Ireland, derived according to landscape character recognition and landscape quality objectives for landscape units of all scales. LINI is glad that this process is broadly reflected in the aims, management, and processes of the proposed ‘national parks / valued landscapes’. LINI requests that a similarly clear approach must be applied to all levels of landscape in Northern Ireland, at the scale of the landscape character areas of the NILCA, and also more local landscape character areas such as Conservation Areas, Village Design Statements, and Local Landscape Policy Areas. Consideration of Northern Ireland’s landscape should be holistic rather than sporadic, and LINI calls for a Northern Ireland Landscape Strategy.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2011|