In January, the Government published its response to Julian Glover’s independent Landscapes Review, which looked at whether the protections for National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are still fit for purpose.
The recommendations of the ‘Glover Review’ were warmly welcomed by teams advising on the conservation of protected landscapes across England when the report was published in 2019. The central proposition that AONB partnerships should be strengthened with new purposes, powers and resources was seen as a powerful and important step in reinforcing the benefits of AONB designation.
The Government response includes a range of proposals including re-naming AONBs ‘National Landscapes’ and forming a new national landscapes partnership to bring together England’s National Park and AONB Partnerships to collaborate, share knowledge and tackle common objectives such as nature recovery and improved public access.
However, we believe the Government’s response and its proposals fall short of the ambitious and transformational change that Julian Glover and his independent panel envisaged. Central to Glover’s recommendations was a clear recognition of the enormous potential and frustrated ambition of the AONB network – 34 designated landscapes, covering 15% of England’s land area – to deliver so much more for nature, climate, farming and the rural economy, and people at this critical time.
The High Weald AONB Partnership worked closely with colleagues in the other English AONB teams - and with the National Association for AONBs - on a collective response to the Government’s consultation in time for the 9th of April.
Our response aims to ensure the Government recognises and addresses the need for urgent action to secure the future of AONB landscapes, and support the local AONB teams advising on their conservation and enhancement. We will publish a copy of the joint response on this page shortly.
In addition to the NAAONB response, the High Weald AONB Unit also submitted some supplementary comments which you can read here: pdf Government Landscapes Review - High Weald AONB Unit consultation response, April 2022 (872 KB) .
Please note the comments within are the professional views of the AONB Unit’s staff, and they are not necessarily the views of the High Weald AONB Joint Advisory Committee.
We have prepared a briefing note outlining our current thinking and the key points as we see them, which may be useful in formulating your own response to the consultation. Three main points have emerged that could be included as part of any response to the Government:
1. Double the current core funding for AONB teams over the life of this parliament and establish a fair and forward-looking funding formula reflecting ambitions and future needs.
2. Strengthen the legal framework relating to AONB designation by giving the statutory duties greater weight to ensure all relevant authorities meet their duties when exercising their functions and contributing to AONB management plan implementation.
3. Give AONB bodies a stronger voice in planning including statutory consultee status in planning applications and development plans.
For more details, download our full briefing note: High Weald AONB Unit Briefing Note - Consultation on Government response to Landscape Review
Read Julian Glover's Review here.
Read Government’s response to the Landscapes Review here.
Have your say on the consultation by 9th April here.