What is the European Landscape Convention (ELC)?

The European Landscape Convention is a treaty and is the first international convention to focus specifically on landscape. It is dedicated exclusively to the protection, management and planning of all landscapes in Europe. The Convention was signed by the UK government on 24th February 2006, ratified on the 21st November 2006 and became binding in this country on 1st March 2007. It seeks to promote landscape protection, management and planning across Europe, and to organise European-wide co-operation on landscape issues.

The European Landscape Convention aims to encourage public authorities to adopt policies and measures at local, regional, national and international level for protecting, managing and planning landscapes throughout Europe. The text provides for a flexible approach to landscapes whose specific features call for various types of action, ranging from strict conservation through protection, management and improvement to actual creation. It also proposes legal and financial measures at the national and international levels, aimed at shaping “landscape policies” and promoting interaction between local and central authorities as well as trans-frontier cooperation in protecting landscapes. It sets out a range of different solutions which States can apply, according to their specific needs.

What does the ELC cover?

The European Landscape Convention covers land and water (inland and seas) and natural, rural, urban and peri-urban areas. It covers all landscapes, both outstanding and ordinary or degraded, that determine the quality of people’s living environment.

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