Simon's Blog - The Importance of AONBs

I was fortunate to get out into the nationally designated Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONBs over the holidays. It is a pleasure to enjoy these fantastic landscapes, spot some wildlife, see what the farmers are doing and enjoying some of the food and drink delights that the areas have to offer.

On return to work the importance of the AONBs has been brought into sharp focus. I had been contacted by many people with concerns about proposals for major developments in the AONBs. The challenges to the environment from the proposed energy projects on the Suffolk coast are enormous. I anticipate these will have a knock on effect on the Dedham Vale because of the need to strengthen National Grid’s energy transmission network that runs across the AONB and Stour Valley.

We are seeing the development of ideas of how a new agri-environment scheme might work, the concept of ‘public good’ is one that we welcome if it means enhancements for access, biodiversity and of course the continuation of world class food production standards. The National Farmers’ Union recent report Our Environment, Our Food, our Future is one that echoes the thoughts of many concerned about the loss of biodiversity and need to engage a much wider community in countryside matters.

Seeing people enjoying their leisure time in the AONBs or expressing concern over negative impacts to the AONBs from major development. Is a common theme developing about the importance of the environment? I understand over 2,500 people responded to the Government’s consultation on designated landscapes such as AONBs. The importance of the natural environment is being recognised but there is still a long way to go.

First published in the EADT on Sat 19 January 2019.

By Cathy Smith on January 22nd, 2019

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