Former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion Richard Pearse of the Friends of the Lake District looking across the Lune Valley at sites where windfarms are threatened

Former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion Richard Pearse of the Friends of the Lake District looking across the Lune Valley at sites where windfarms are threatened

A former Poet Laureate gave his backing to the extension of two national parks during a visit to see the areas in question.

Sir Andrew Motion, who is now president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, met members of the Friends of the Lake District yesterday when he toured the Lune Valley and western Dales.

The areas, including Barbon, Middleton and Leck Fells, are proposed for inclusion in a westward extension of the Yorkshire Dales national park, which would almost meet the Lake District in the Lune Gorge if an enlargement eastwards of that national park was confirmed.

The Friends represent the CPRE in Cumbria.

The poet, novelist and biographer heard from members of the Friends that they are looking forward to an imminent announcement from the coalition Government on the next stage of the plans.

CPRE, the Campaign for National Parks, Cumbria Tourism and the two national park authorities support the proposals to enlarge the areas. Cumbria County Council opposes the plans.

Sir Andrew said: ‘The Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks are undoubtedly national treasures.

“The beauty and value of the proposed areas to come into these two national parks is equally unquestionable. By designating these areas within the national parks we can ensure that the landscapes that we have come to recognise and enjoy can also be protected for future generations.”

Friends of the Lake District policy officer Jack Ellerby added: “Cumbria’s economy is dependent upon its beautiful landscapes, so extending the national parks is a good news story for the local economy, jobs and future management of the landscape.”

Friends members pointed out areas they said were under threat from adjacent wind farms and inappropriately sited transmission pylons.

Following his visit Sir Andrew went on to Grasmere to give poetry readings supported by the Wordsworth Trust and to promote his new book.

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