A government report didn’t say the countryside was “too white”

24th Mar 2020

Claim

The English countryside is too white and needs more ethnic minorities, says government report.

Conclusion

The report didn’t say the countryside was “too white”. It said ethnic minorities should be encouraged to visit national parks and other areas of outstanding natural beauty. It also said minorities should have better representation on these organisations’ boards.

A post on Facebook has made a number of claims about ethnic minorities and the English countryside. The accompanying graphic says:

“The English countryside is ‘too white’ and needs more ethnic minorities says government report!”

The text accompanying the post goes on to say: 

“A report published by the UK Government titled ‘Landscapes Review’, has two aims, one of which is to get more ethnic minorities into the English countryside. The 168-page independent report was commissioned by Michael Gove. To summarise, the two outcomes of the report are:

1. To stop environmental decline of England’s parks.

2. To increase the number of ethnic minority visitors.”

It’s true that a government report into National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England was commissioned when Michael Gove was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The 2019 report was not just about the “English countryside” as the post claims, but specifically national parks, such as the Lake District, and AONBs, such as the North Pennines. The review was into whether the protections for such locations are “still fit for purpose” and “what might be done better, what changes will help and whether the definitions and systems in place are still valid.”

And although the report mentions ethnic minorities several times, by no means does it say any area is “too white”.

Within its main summary, the report says that a small minority of those on the boards of national parks and AONBs are black, Asian or minority ethnicities. It also proposes that “New long term programmes to increase the ethnic diversity of visitors” are needed, one of 27 proposals that the report sets out.

The main report also talks about how “black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups” are among the groups that tend to visit the countryside less, and perceive the countryside as a “white environment”

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