CUMBRIAN landscape conservation charity The Friends of the Lake District has elected environ-mental scientist and international conservationist Sir Martin Holdgate as its new President.

Sir Martin grew up in Blackpool but the Eden Valley was his childhood holiday home, and it was there that his love of nature took root.

He has lived in Cumbria since 2000 and is an active member of the Friends key supporters' group.

He said he is clear that the charity faces major challenges.


He said: “Last year Natural England made orders that would add some wonderful country between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales to the two National Parks.

“We have been waiting for this since 1946 when the importance of that countryside was recognised.”

Among the other issues Mr Holdgate said he faces with the Friends include the national park’s World Heritage site bid, upland farming, high voltage power lines and West Cumbrian wind farms.

A biologist by profession, with a Cambridge doctorate in insect physiology, he became the research director in the Nature Conservancy Council before a career switch in 1970 took him into Whitehall to head a unit coordinating action against environmental pollution.

In 1988 he left Whitehall to become director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.