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Sheep farming has turned the Lake District into an 'ecological disaster area'

An environmentalist who claims that sheep are destroying the Lake District fells has been meeting the Cumbrian farmers, he says are to blame.

George Monbiot is well known nationally as an outspoken critic of farming practices but he agreed to meet farmers near Penrith to discuss what can be done to protect the landscape.

Fiona Marley-Paterson was there to see what happened.

Author agrees to meet farmers after controversial comments

An environmentalist who says sheep farming wrecks the fells met with Cumbrian hill farmers.

George Monbiot wrote in his book that sheep farming is ‘a slow-burning ecological disaster’ that ‘has done more damage to the living systems of this country than either climate change or industrial pollution'.

He met the Cumbria Commoners and Cumbria Young Commoners in Newton Rigg but they disagreed with his findings.


"You'll see more wildlife in Birmingham" claims Monbiot

In his article in the Guardian, author Geroge Mobiot slams the Lake District landscape:

"I see it as one of the most depressing landscapes in Europe. It competes with the chemical deserts of East Anglia for the title of Britain's worst-kept countryside.

"The celebrated fells have been thoroughly sheepwrecked: the forests which once covered them have been reduced by the white plague to bare rock and bowling green.

"By eating the young trees that would otherwise have replaced their parents, the sheep wiped the hills clean. They keep them naked, mowing down every edible plant that raises its head, depriving animals of their habitats.

"You'll see more wildlife in Birmingham. Their sharp hooves compact the soil, ensuring that rain flashes off, causing floods downstream.

"This is the state which the bid would help preserve in perpetuity, preventing the ecological restoration of England's biggest national park.

– George Monbiot

To read Mr Monbiot's full article, click here.

"Lake District is renowned as a cultural landscape"

An author and environmentalist has stunned thousands of people by describing the Lake District as one of the most depressing places in Europe.

George Monbiot believes the sheep have ruined the beautiful landscape and he says he is bitterly opposed to a campaign to turn the Lake District into a World Heritage site.

Julia Aglionby is the director for the National Centre for the Uplands, at Newton Rigg College, and she strongly disagrees with Mr Monbiot's views:

Author slams Lake District as "most depressing landscape" in Europe

An environmentalist and author has described the Lake District as the most depressing landscape in Europe.

George Monbiot said it competes with what he describes as the chemical desert of East Anglia for the title of Britain's worst kept countryside.

He says the fells have been ruined by over-management and too many sheep.

Writing in a national newspaper, he claims the close grazing means there is no opportunity for plants and trees to grow.

A fourth attempt will be made next month to have the region recognised as a World Heritage Site.