- Florence Convention -




Council of Europe, Palais de lEurope, Strasbourg

22-23 November 2001

Room 10


Document by the Secretariat General
prepared by the Regional Planning and Technical Co-operation and Assistance Division

Statement of United Kingdom

  1. The United Kingdom took a constructive role in the development of the Convention, but wishes to look closely at the details of implementation before deciding to sign it, particularly to understand the range of actions that will be necessary to enable full compliance. An assessment of the Conventions requirements in relation to current and future UK regulatory processes is being carried out.

  2. Current philosophy and practice in the UK, is already aligned with the Convention, notably:

    •  the concern for democratic participation and involvement in attaching value to landscape and determining its future;
    •  knowledge of the need to pursue sustainable policies in order to achieve social, environmental and economic health;
    •  knowledge of the rich contributions that landscape can make to quality of life, sense of place, human health and economic prosperity;
    •  the value of a comprehensive, all-inclusive and non-selective, approach to valuing and managing all of the landscape in a territory, not only outstanding areas.

  3.  The UK already has in place procedures for delivering the Conventions requirements, for example those under Article 5 and 6, through its spatial planning system and in other spheres of environmental management.

  4.  In particular, the UK is well advanced in creating the assessments that are required by article 6C of the Convention (Identification and Assessment). This work (using England as the main exemplar; the other three countries of the UK have parallel and similar work underway) includes:

    1. A national "Countryside Character" map and related descriptions, produced by the Countryside Agency, which subdivides England into c160 discrete character areas, on the basis of the landscapes appearance, natural characteristics and cultural aspects;

    2.  A national landscape character typology, a more recent, more detailed foundation for Countryside Character;

    3.  An Atlas of Rural Settlement Diversity, prepared by English Heritage, adding at least a 1,000-year perspective to an understanding of the current landscape. More detailed regional projects are also underway.

    4.  Visual landscape assessments at county and district level, producing local Character Areas, sponsored by the Countryside Agency. Almost half of the country is now completed,

    5. Historic Landscape Characterisation at county level, an English Heritage programme producing GIS-based understanding of the present-day landscapes historic and archaeological dimensions, again almost half completed across the country.

  5.  In relation to the Conventions Articles 7 and 8, English Heritage is involved in staff exchanges and expertise-sharing with other European countries, for example in the EU Culture 2000 three-year programme "European Pathways to the Cultural Landscape". EPCL has 12 partners in 10 countries from Ireland to Estonia and from Sweden to Italy ( Its aims, in areas selected because they are under-studied and under-appreciated areas of cultural landscape, are:

The EPCL programme is being guided by the principles of the Convention, notably its broad definition and focus on democratic participation in evaluation and decision-making.

Graham Fairclough, November 2000

Conference Programme


This document has been printed from

© 2005 Pathways to Cultural Landscapes

With the support of the Culture 2000 programme of the European Union