Heritage organisations from across the East Midlands have joined forces to press the government to recognise the huge contribution the region’s countryside makes to the quality of life in the area.

The Country Land and Business Association, the National Trust, English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund have all contributed to a comprehensive report that sets out steps that need to be taken to protect the rural heritage of Leicestershire and Rutland.

The report says the long-term survival of the rural heritage of the two counties is under threat if further action is not taken to protect it.

The report claims there is an urgent need to diversify and re-use redundant farm buildings – a move it claims is vital in binding rural communities together.

It also suggests that agri-environment schemes are the principal way to conserve and manage the character of the rural landscape.

Anthony Streeten, chairman of the East Midlands Heritage Forum, said: “The countryside of the East Midlands is a national asset of incalculable value.

The rural landscape, with its many distinctive man-made features, is fundamental to our local and national identity and a powerful force behind the renewal of villages and small towns.

“But its long-term survival raises serious concerns, mainly because the pace of change in the face of global pressures has never been so great.
“The challenge is to understand and manage these changes sensitively and intelligently.”