A conservation group which supported the fight to preserve Yeadon Banks as a village green is calling for a national champion for the environment and public access.

The Open Spaces Society wants to see a strong agency to champion the environment, landscape and public access to the outdoors in England.  The society was responding to the review of the Environment Agency and Natural England which is being carried out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Kate Ashbrook, the society’s general secretary said: “We would be concerned if any reorganisation were to lead to a downplaying of Natural England’s vital work in protection of the landscape, and of public access and recreation.

“Any future body must have the same focus, and any reorganisation must ensure that skills and expertise are retained.”