Richard Benyon, the Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries recently met with the High Weald AONB Unit to learn more of our work advising on the management of one of England's finest landscapes.
The Minister met with the AONB Directors, Sally Marsh and Jason Lavender, and Richard Clarke of the National Association for AONBs to discuss, among other things, the need for a rural renaissance that ensures that people and communities are better able to find responsible ways of sustaining a range of benefits and services (food, energy, education, water management, bio-diversity, 'well-being' etc.) from a given area.
The High Weald AONB Unit's key message was that the skills and assets of people and the social and economic processes that drive them are fundamentally linked to the natural environment.
It was greatly encouraging for the Unit to learn of the Minister's support for our view that we need to put a strong emphasis on rebuilding peoples' economic relationships with the land around them recognising that these relationships produced our most iconic cultural landscapes and that they must continue to ensure the landscape thrives and evolves.