"The declaration emerged very slowly and the discussion was quite lively. Nevertheless, we succeeded in finding such a phrasing, that will be helpful while protecting the avenues not only in the Czech Republic, but also in other countries not only in Central Europe. Avenues are a fascinating phenomenon of our landscape, and we must protect them. In some countries, the European Landscape Convention is not asserted well enough, even though the convention should ensure that we give the unique and specific landscape, which we inherited from our forefathers, to next generations in the same, or rather a better state. This declaration should improve the situation," commented Martin Skalský, leader of Arnika's Centre for Citizen's Support, on the conference's conclusion and its outcome.
Complete text of the declaration:
Addressed to the European Commission, signatories to the European Landscape Convention
The Uherské Hradiště Declaration on Avenue Protection
The participants of the conference "Avenue Protection for the regional Development", which took place 6th December 2013 in Uherské Hradiště, have noted, that the current state of avenue protection is insufficient, though the avenues are essential to the European landscape. In many European countries, this historical and cultural heritage is at stake - due to the lack of proper care, groundless felling, and insufficient new planting. Decisions are made without adequate participation of the public. Felling of old avenues alongside roads leads to destruction of biotopes, disappearance of cultural landscape, and loss of identity and diversity. We are well aware of the fact that it takes several decades ere a tree reaches impressive size – something which is characteristic for the most precious alleys. If we are to save European landscape for future generations, we must act now.
Therefore, we demand:
1. Complete implementation of the European Landscape Convention by the signatory states.
2. That alternative methods to protect drivers are used, rather than large-scale felling of roadside trees in order to increase the traffic safety.
3. That financial mechanism is adopted to provide the necessary funds for adequate care for old trees and planting of new ones (for example by collecting and gathering compensational fees from those who are felling them).
4. That a mechanism is found for property settlement due to avenue restoration in a safe distance from the roads.
5. That local citizens are allowed to participate in the decision-making process concerning avenues and their protection.
Uherské Hradiště, 6th December 2013
Supported by a grant from Switzerland through the Swiss Contribution to the enlarged European Union and the German Federal Environmental Foundation. www.swisscontribution.admin.ch