Politics

If our landscape truly belongs to us all, we must stop romanticising it | Alex Preston

Michael Gove’s policies on the countryside are welcome, but will only work if he can bridge the urban/rural divide

Michael Gove has now been secretary of state for the environment for more than six months and, believe me, this isn’t easy to write, he appears to be doing a decent job. It induces a particular kind of cognitive dissonance in the liberal left, seeing him making such lucid and laudable policy decisions.

Gove is behind the government’s post-Blue Planet drive on plastic waste; the banning of microbeads; the volte-face on the use of neonicotinoids; the outlawing of ivory sales; reintroducing beavers. He has listened to the very experts he derided in the build-up to the Brexit vote and, by tapping into a peculiarly British engagement with nature and landscape, seems to be staging the most unlikely of political comebacks.

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