National Landscape Review findings welcomed

The findings of the recently published independent review into England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) have been welcomed by the High Weald AONB Partnership and the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB). 

The Review recommends that AONBs should be strengthened with new purposes, powers and resources, and renamed as National Landscapes.  It concludes “We think our national landscapes can work together better with bigger ambitions to be happier, healthier, greener, more beautiful and open to everyone. This is what our recommendations aim to achieve and we hope those involved in our national landscapes will work together to put them into action.”

The Review was led by Julian Glover, supported by experienced advisors: Dame Fiona Reynolds, Sarah Mukherjee, Jim Dixon, Ewen Cameron and Jake Fiennes. The findings and recommendations were 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 video ethnography to hear the perspectives of those who might otherwise not have been reached. 

Philip Hygate FRSA, Chairman of the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty 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 National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty has stated: 

“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 High Weald 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 recommendation that AONBs should form the backbone of nature recovery areas and have a central place in the new Environmental Land Management system, should be supported to cater for and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and that AONB Partnerships should be given statutory consultee in the planning system. 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. 

Read the Designated Landscape Review: 

Read the National Association’s Response to the Designated Landscape Review: