Prioritising the island’s precious landscape

Ape Mann at South Barrule is a good example of the activity using the islands environment to anable people to reconnect with natural surroundings

Ape Mann at South Barrule is a good example of the activity using the islands environment to anable people to reconnect with natural surroundings

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In the first of two articles, Friends of the Earth member James McLean looks at the Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture’s Landscape and Amenity Strategy 2050

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The Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture’s Landscape and Amenity Strategy 2050 aims to ‘set a clear lead in what is expected from landscape management for the future across the whole Isle of Man to maximise and sustain our natural wealth’, identifying three key topics.

Valued Environment

This might be better termed as a valued ecosystem as it discusses benefits such as natural air and water filtration and food production.

Resilient Economy

This looks at business opportunities provided by a well-managed landscape, such as fishing and agriculture, as well as business opportunities in educational and recreational industries that help the public reconnect with natural surroundings – for example, Ape Mann at South Barrule.

Vibrant Community

This identifies benefits for the wider community that come from engaging with sustainable, responsible use and management of the landscape, such as health improvements, community belonging and inspiring people.

Having identified these benefits for the island (from a human perspective) that can be gained from a holistic land management strategy, the document lists some suggestions for government to develop and/or harness these benefits.

However, it is somewhat lacking in the following:

Measurable Aims

and Targets

For a strategy of such importance and with a 30+ year lifespan, I would expect to see some real measurable goals. Any ideas should surely be driven by analytical study and assessed at least every decade,if not more frequently, to ensure that the ideas put into practice are delivering expected results.

At no point within the document was I able to identify clear strategic goals.

Actionable tasks

The document does highlight largely high-level tasks for each of the topics, all of which I would support and encourage government to develop. What it is incredibly short on, however, is detail as to the how and the who.

There is no information about departmental ownership, financial requirements (e.g. budgets), resource requirements, correlation to benefits, steps to achieve tasks.

The document does highlight that: ‘Resource demands will be limited, certainly initially, since the natural capital already exists.

‘Management […] in many cases will already have been identified with the relevant resources.’

So perhaps this is already known and simply not documented here.

So what is the document actually proposing? In the next Green Column I will look at the more detailed content.

In the meantime, find the document online here: https://www.gov.im/media/1352012/our-landscape-our-legacy.pdf

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