The Designated Landscapes Review proposes strengthening and renaming AONBs.
"AONBs should be strengthened with new purposes, powers and resources, and renamed as National Landscapes" is just one of the proposals of the recently published independent review into England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).
The Review, which was commissioned in response to the 25 year Environment Plan, has a further 26 wide-ranging proposals and concludes “...we hope one thing stands out. That working together, people and nature can make our most special countryside happier, healthier, greener, more beautiful and more accessible to everyone. That means seeing conservation and farming as partners, and farming for nature as well as for food."
The Designated Landscape Review has been led by Julian Glover, supported by experienced advisors: Dame Fiona Reynolds, Sarah Mukherjee, Jim Dixon, Ewen Cameron and Jake Fiennes. The findings and recommendations have been shaped by views and evidence gathered from visits to partnerships in designated and non-designated landscapes; conversations with people who live, work in, visit and care for them; a public call for evidence which received around 2,500 responses; and filmed ethnographic interviews to hear the perspectives of those who might otherwise not have been reached. In January this year, Dame Fiona Reynolds visited the North Wessex Downs AONB and spent the day with Henry Oliver, Director, and members of the Council of Partners.
The Review has been welcomed by the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB).
Philip Hygate FRSA, Chairman of the NAAONB said: “I am delighted the report recognises the immense value and potential of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and sets bold ambitions for their higher profile within the urgent imperatives of nature recovery and improving the health of the Nation.”
Howard Davies, Chief Executive of the NAANB said: “In this, the 70th anniversary year of the passing of the legislation which paved the way for the setting up of our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks, the Review was particularly welcome. Society has changed beyond recognition since that pioneering legislation was put into place. The demands placed on our designated landscapes have never been greater, demands matched only by our increased human need for natural beauty, wild spaces and tranquil places.”
The North Wessex Downs AONB Partnership is delighted that the value of the AONB designation and the hard work that AONB staff and members carry out to conserve and enhance the country’s special landscapes has been recognised. In particular it welcomes the proposals that AONBs should form the backbone of nature recovery areas and have a central place in the new Environmental Land Management Scheme, and should cater for and increase health and wellbeing. The Partnership looks forward to working with the NAAONB, Defra, Natural England, and the other 33 AONB Partnerships to take forward the Review’s recommendations.