Cathy's Blog - Reviewing Our Outstanding Landscapes

Do you think Defra can improve the way we care for the UK’s outstanding landscapes?

Is there a better way to deliver conservation and enhancement in Essex and Suffolk?

When Defra wrote their 25 Year Environment Plan (Jan 2018) they included an announcement of a Designated Landscape Review. This Review, of both National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), will report back to Michael Gove in 2019. 2019 is also the 70th Anniversary of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act. A fitting time to look once again at how your Essex & Suffolk AONBs are delivering local priorities too.

This week Defra began its public ‘Call for Evidence’. Everyone can – and should – submit comments to Defra, via their consultation pages, see their news report: www.gov.uk/government/news/public-to-have-say-on-new-national-parks. The deadline is Tuesday 18 December 2018.

Nationally there are common themes across all the designated landscapes – including wildlife, land management, agriculture and recreation. We also have local priorities that we will take to the Review Advisory Panel about at our face-to-face, and when we submit our response to the consultation.

Here in Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast & Heaths the AONB team and the AONBs Partnerships are already delivering against the 25YEP, and we have a thriving agriculture sector, a healthy rural economy, beautiful landscapes and rich habitats for wildlife. Looking forward, we have pressure from major infrastructure and building developments, our aspiration for a southern boundary review in Suffolk Coast & Heaths, a keen interest in further enhancing biodiversity through countryside management and the work of our wonderful volunteers, and we strongly believe that supporting our community groups with advice and grants can deliver great benefits locally.

First published in the EADT Sat 27 October 2018.

By Cathy Smith on January 11th, 2019

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