Friends of the Lake District has launched a Manifesto calling on all political parties to unite in developing better environmental policies so that we can have healthier landscapes for all, prosperous rural communities and increased funding for the countryside in Cumbria.

The focus for the main political parties in the run up to the General Election will no doubt be firmly fixed on the usual suspects; convincing voters that they can keep the country solvent while boosting the economy, maintaining the health service, defending the realm or protecting education.

In the midst of the usual election wrangling, Friends of the Lake District is making a case for all parties to prioritise the protection of our natural environment and to recognise the fact that we cannot live without the services it provides such as food and forestry, flood alleviation and clean air and water.

To achieve this aim, Friends of the Lake District is calling on parties to develop better policies to deliver the 3 main goals outlined in its Manifesto.

1 Better Landscapes for all. Protecting and enriching the cultural landscapes of Cumbria is vital to our future. But the countryside has never been more vulnerable.

It takes only months to create poor or inappropriate development that undoes the work of centuries.

2 Prosperous rural communities. Cumbria's economy depends on Cumbria's environment. We need a "cultural revolution" that recognises the role of the farming community and supports them as managers of the countryside and providers of the diverse 'services' it gives to us all. But we also need other rural enterprises, fitting together to maintain balanced and prosperous landscapes and communities.

3 Better funding for the countryside. We have a collective duty to care for the cultural landscape of Cumbria. Scenery, wildlife, our built heritage and our history need safeguarding and care. This demands support from the wider community and action by qualified and dedicated public authorities.

Sir Martin Holdgate, Friends of the Lake District President says;

"Our Cumbrian landscapes are a priceless natural and cultural heritage which enrich us all but they need continuing care. I commend the actions in the Manifesto to all who seek to serve in the next parliament."

To view the manifest click here (pdf)