Group launches campaign to preserve Yorkshire Wolds
CAMPAIGNERS have launched a bid to see the Yorkshire Wolds recognised as a nationally important landscape.
The influential Campaign to Protect Rural England pressure group wants it to become an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The move could make it harder for wind turbines to be built.
Yorkshire and the Humber chairman David Rose said: "We're not optimistic it will happen quickly but we have a great deal of optimism for its success.
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"We feel we can approach the campaign with confidence, knowing there are strong arguments in favour."
Government advice group Natural England will decide if the Wolds is worthy of AONB status.
Planning authorities would then have to more strongly take into account the area's character before granting permission for new building work.
Mr Rose said: "It would protect the area from unseemly developments.
"It would give additional powers that would protect the character of the landscape and one of our concerns has been the proliferation of wind turbines.
"We feel it is an area of special landscape value and deserves to have some form of protection."
The campaign has been supported by Greg Knight, Conservative MP for East Yorkshire.
He said: "I think there's a strong case to be pushing the Yorkshire Wolds to be the next area designated and I would support it.
"I would favour action sooner rather than later because other areas might start to put forward competing bids.
"It's hard to see who would be against it apart from a few selfish landowners."
Mr Knight has investigated AONB status himself in the past.
He said: "I have already been to see Defra minister Richard Benyon about this and he has said there's nothing to stop a bid.
"There needs to be work to prepare the area.
"It involves surveys to determine where the area starts and where it ends."
Mr Rose's campaign group has contacted artist David Hockney to seek his support.
His exhibition, A Bigger Picture, at London's Royal Academy of Arts earlier this year was seen by more than 500,000 people.
And many of the paintings on display showed Wolds beauty spots.
Mr Hockney has spoken out against turbines in the past.
Last year, he said: 'They are big ugly things and they are completely out of scale. But nobody talks about beauty and ugliness any more.
"I certainly wouldn't paint them. They are unnatural. From what I've read about them they don't work very well. The coastline and countryside around Bridlington is more charming than people realise."
He said families needed to make their views known.
Mr Hockney said: "People should stand up for themselves and say no to these things if they don't agree with them.
"They should let the politicians know."