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On the Meaning of Natural Beauty in Landscape Legislation

By Paul Selman and Carys Swanwick

Abstract

The term ‘natural beauty’ has been an important criterion for designating and managing fine landscapes in the UK and elsewhere. However, its meaning has been assumed to be self-evident and has never been officially defined. Latterly, this has become problematic in relation to more critical contemporary understandings of ‘natural’, and legal challenges to the use of the term in practice. Based on an analysis of the antecedents to legislation for the protection of natural beauty, and of subsequent efforts to analyse and describe fine landscapes, this paper considers the contested use of ‘natural beauty’ in current landscape policy. It proposes an extended meaning for the term which is consistent with the intentions of the original legislators

OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:11121

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