Newbury was the common theme when Richard Benyon MP attended the launch of WWF’s Picture England exhibition at the House of Commons last week and met up with the Newbury-based artist whose work was on display.

Over the last few months WWF has teamed up with professional landscape artist, Jane Skingley, and a production team to find out what people love about their local area and how they are responding to protect it against climate change. The exhibition captured these stories through painting, photography and children’s artwork.

Richard said:  ‘I was delighted to visit the Picture England exhibition in Parliament and see first-hand some of the fantastic contributions from the West Berkshire area. English landscapes should fill us with pride and although climate change does present a threat, this exhibition shows us we have a choice in how we respond.

‘We all share in our desire to protect and enhance the areas we love and many are doing great work to do just that. Action against climate change presents opportunity for us all, and there are certainly reasons to be optimistic for our future.’

 Newbury-based landscape artist, Jane Skingley, said: ‘When I was asked by the WWF to work on this project, the first thing I did was to take a look at how other artists had tackled the subject of climate change. I found images of chimneys belching out black smoke, polar bears perched on shrinking icebergs and cracked and parched landscapes.

‘These images, while hard-hitting and thought-provoking, can seem distant to people’s lives and be a turn off. I wanted my paintings to show the stunning beauty of the South of England in all its summer glory. A beauty, which must be preserved for all to enjoy. But behind this beauty there are stories of ecosystems in the balance. I hope my interpretations of our beautiful landscape provide food for thought.’

Gareth Redmond-King, Head of Climate & Energy said: ‘The impacts of climate change are being felt all around us – including here in the UK. They threaten things and places that we care about and depend on.  But Picture England has shown us that people can and will respond positively to the challenges we face, focused on protecting and preserving the things we love.

‘The local examples in the exhibition demonstrate some of the creative solutions that do exist throughout the country; solutions based on intelligent and balanced approaches that help protect the aspects of life most important to us.’