Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England and Vice-Chair of the Local Government Association, has issued a statement of support for the campaign to save Eastbourne’s public downland:
“Not long ago, Eastbourne Council announced its plan to sell off the majority of its landholding in the South Downs. Since that time, an energetic campaign to stop these land sales has grown rapidly, reflecting how deeply the people of Eastbourne and surrounding areas care about this landscape.
The campaign has the support of the Open Spaces Society, the South Downs Society and the Campaign to Protect Rural England. As the Green MEP for South East England, today, I am adding my voice to theirs in the hope that together we will stop these land sales.
Land included in the proposed sale was originally bought by the Council in 1926, with huge public support, at a time when the future of the open downlands was under enormous threat from developers. It was bought for the benefit of the people of Eastbourne in perpetuity. Now a part of the South Downs national park, it is under threat again.
Public ownership is essential to upholding the aims of the national park – to conserve and enhance natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage and promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment by the public.
After a large public outcry in 2009, Worthing Borough Council was persuaded to abandon its plans to sell public land on the slopes of Cissbury Ring. I hope the huge public support this campaign has garnered in such a short time will persuade Eastbourne Council to do the same.
I am supporting this campaign and the rally on Saturday as part of my ongoing work as a Green MEP and a member of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, but, above all, as a lover of the South Downs National Park.”
As a Green MEP and a member of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, Keith is passionately committed to protecting people and planet from the worst effects of climate change and environmental degradation.