LOCAL agencies and councils are working on a plan to create a self-declared South Pennines Park, the first of its kind in the UK and one which would pioneer a radical new approach to caring for the landscape.

Writer Julian Glover is leading an independent panel for the Government which will consider whether England’s 10 national parks and 34 areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) are still fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Currently the South Pennines does not feature amongst these and is the only upland landscape in England not given statutory protection.

He learnt about the plans on a day-long visit, meeting local stakeholders, including Bradford Council, along with utility companies, community groups, the Rivers and Canal Trust, Natural England and the National Trust.

Pam Warhurst, Chair of Pennine Prospects, said: “We are not seeking to become either a national park or an AONB – we want something that works specifically for our area and is in the tune with the massive environmental and social challenges we face."

During his visit Julian Glover saw a map of the South Pennines created by Angela Smyth and set to be rolled out across 53 rail stations locally by Northern Rail to encourage visitors to explore.

The South Pennines was considered for designation by the post-war Hobhouse Report that led to the national parks and Access to the Countryside Act, passed in 1949.