The European Landscape Convention (ELC)
The ELC is the first international treaty
specifically on landscape. This Council of Europe initiative
provides a broad framework for the planning and management of all
landscapes across member states. This now includes the UK,
who signed and ratified the ELC effective as of 1 March 2007.
CCW is pleased to endorse the ELC definition of ‘landscape’,
being “an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the
result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human
The ELC represents our agreement to some common core principles
- Putting people – from all cultures and communities – and their
surroundings, at the heart of spatial planning and sustainable
- Recognising that landscape exists everywhere, not just in
special places and, whether beautiful or degraded, is everyone’s
- Increasing awareness and understanding of landscape and its
value, as a unifying framework for all land-use sectors.
- Promoting a more accessible, integrated and forward looking
approach to managing inherited landscapes and shaping new
These commitments are implemented within the context of our own
domestic legal and policy frameworks. This is
important, because it allows us to operate within the existing
mechanisms that we have for dealing with our landscapes, building
on all the work we have done to date.
Equally important, the ELC takes a realistic and forward looking
view, rather than a preservationist one: creating future landscapes
is regarded as being just as much an aim as managing sustainably
those we have inherited.
The ELC also stresses that landscape is not merely scenery, but
links people with place, culture with nature and past with
present. It stresses that landscape has many values that
matter to people (not all tangible), because it is they who create
and value the landscape.
CCW champions this view through our work with the Welsh Assembly
Government and our partners, on how we can all embrace and help to
deliver the ELC’s principles. This means above all else,
making people and places matter more at the heart of landscape
planning everywhere in Wales.