The Landscape Management Leadership Forum members will provide the LI with insight into new areas of the profession

Left to right: Daniel Cook, Alison Barnes, Simon Odell and Merrick Denton-Thompson

The Landscape Institute (LI) has met with a number of well-respected figures within the landscape management and policy disciplines to help improve its offering to a broader range of practitioners.

In the inaugural meeting of the Landscape Management Leadership Forum, attendees discussed how the LI might be able to attract and retain members from some parts of the landscape sector not currently reflected in the LI membership.

The ultimate goal, over a two-year period, is to re-shape entry requirements, CPD, training, standards and guidance, influencing, and the overall offer for landscape management practitioners. The LI believes that as an organisation, we can do more to provide the support and services that this area of the profession needs, just as we have done for landscape designers and planners over many years.

LI President Merrick Denton-Thompson, who chaired the meeting, said: ‘It is my view that the Landscape Institute should be inclusive in attracting all the professional skills that determine our landscapes today. Some of the most profound changes to the landscape are not through design, but through a myriad of day-to-day management decisions often driven by policies unrelated to design and construction.’

the Landscape Institute should be inclusive in attracting all the professional skills that determine our landscapes today

Expanding the membership to encompass a greater number of management and policy professionals is part of the LI’s aspiration to become the professional home for all practitioners who transform the built and natural environment. Steps have already been made in this direction, with a number of landscape management courses – including the fondly remembered course at Wye College – being accredited. Landscape managers now account for over 10% of the membership. But, intimated Merrick, against a potential membership of many thousands, and given the need of a professional body focussed on multi-purpose landscape infrastructure, ‘there is more that the LI can and should be doing’.

‘With this breadth of influence,’ Merrick continued, ‘the landscape profession will be a force to be reckoned with, and its holistic service to society will become central to the quality of our urban and rural landscapes everywhere.’

Invited on the basis of profile, sector, and geography, the Landscape Management Leadership Forum members will provide the LI with insight into areas it has yet to reach. Attending the first meeting were:

  • Alison Barnes, CEO at the New Forest National Park Authority
  • Mark Camley, Executive Director of Park and Venues at the London Legacy Development Corporation
  • Howard Davies, Chief Executive at The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Chris Fairbrother, Landscape Lead for the Strategy and Partnerships Team at South Downs National Park Authority
  • Euan Hall, Chief Executive at the Land Trust
  • Sue Ireland, former Director of Open Spaces at the City of London
  • Sally Marsh, Co-Director of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership
  • Liz Newton, Director of Strategy Development at Natural England
  • Julie Procter, Chief Executive at greenspace scotland
  • Jim Smyllie, former Executive Director of Strategy at Natural England
  • David Solly, People and Access Specialist at Natural England
  • Stephen Trotter, Director for England at the Wildlife Trusts
Attendees enjoyed a ‘fruitful and positive’ discussion

In recognition of their status as market leaders who meet the levels of professionalism and technical expertise required of all LI members, the LI Board of Trustees has invited all attendees to join the LI membership.

LI Head of Technical and Professional Services Simon Odell CMLI remarked upon a ‘fruitful and positive first step’, noting a ‘strong welcome’ for the LI’s aims and a ‘real desire to help’. All attendees agreed that many more landscape managers could and should have a home within the LI, and an emphasis emerged on breaking down barriers that have arisen through prejudice and lack of understanding.

The next meeting of the Landscape Management Leadership Forum will take place in the autumn, and will look at required education, skills and competencies and how they fit with course accreditation, routes to licentiate membership, and the Pathway to Chartership. This will include both present needs and anticipated needs for the future. If you would like to be part of a wider reference group, please get in touch with Simon Odell.


  1. Dear Simon Odell,

    Having just read the article about The Landscape Management Leadership Forum, I would like to say what a positive step for the Landscape Institute I feel this is. I have been a licentiate member of the Institute since 2005 having completed a BSc in Landscape Management at Reading. I currently work as an Area Ranger for the National Trust based at Runnymede. If I can be of help in furthering or supporting the efforts of the forum please do get in touch.

    The link provided above to your name unfortunately did not work at the time of writing

  2. Dear James,

    Thank you for your comment and your offer to participate in the forum. I apologise for the broken hyperlink; if you would like to contact Simon directly, the link is now working.

    With best wishes,

  3. Excellent to see that the LI is acting to extend the membership and importance of landscape management within the LI professional “family”. In time scale, Landscape Design is short…. Landscape Management is long!

    Unlike individual buildings and engineering structures, Landscapes uniquely are dynamic and living, which grow and mature, sometimes with minimal human intervention, but normally, needing or improved by skilled and informed management.

    With our rapidly growing awareness of the threats to the planet of pollution, deforestation, over and under-grazing, soil loss and erosion, and the impact of global warming on flooding and desertification, the role of the landscape manager is emerging as a key role in the wise management of our home planet, mother Earth.

    Even in the UK, where our problems are relatively small, the role of the Landscape Manager must be an essential for a better future for us all.

    Lewis White CMLI

  4. Excellent initiative from the LI here. Coming from North Wales there is currently a huge deficiency, certainly in the public sector, of LI Members. But this does not mean that landscapes are not being managed and development is not taking place here. If the LI want to influence the future of N Wales’s landscapes then they have to engage with the right people who are shaping that future. Merricks’s comment is apt here: “Some of the most profound changes to the landscape are not through design, but through a myriad of day-to-day management decisions often driven by policies unrelated to design and construction”. And what we often end up with is an uncordinated mess on the ground, where even the basics of good landscape design and management fail. So, engaging with this myriad is therefore exactly what’s needed. Large captial projects may make the headlines, but for most of the time it is the cumulative effect of those many day to day decisions usually involving just drip feed investment, over the years, that result in the success failure of a landscape to be sustained , to function, and to delight.

  5. the group could start by defining the skill set needed for park managers in the changing public sector. Also look at the output of other related professions and educational standards. I occasionally found the LI and its journal relevant, and a helpful source of information. The fees may discourage some kindred spirits.
    Richard Stenson – retired Parks and Landscape Manager


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