“… The message from all this work has been vigorous and clear. We should not be satisfied with what we have at the moment. It falls short of what can be achieved, what the people of our country want and what the government says it expects in the 25-year plan for the environment.
Some of this failure comes from the fact that our protected landscapes have
not been given the tools, the funding and the direction to do the job we should now expect of them. I want to praise the commitment of those who work to protect our landscapes today. Everywhere I’ve been I’ve seen energy,
enthusiasm and examples of success.
Supporting schools, youth ranger schemes, farm clusters, joint working with
all sorts of organisations, tourism, planning and design, backing local
businesses, coping with the complexities of local and central government –
things like this happen every day, not much thanks is given for them and yet
much of it is done well, for relatively small sums.
But all this impressive effort is not achieving anything like as much as it could.
We need to reignite the fire and vision which brought this system into being in 1949. We need our finest landscapes to be places of natural beauty which look up and outwards to the nation they serve.
In essence, our review will ask not ‘what do protected landscapes need?’, but “what does the nation need from them today?’….
We think that AONBs should be strengthened, with increased funding, new purposes and a greater voice on development. We have been impressed by what they often achieve now through partnership working.
We believe there is a very strong case for increasing funding to AONBs. We will make proposals in our final review.
– We have been asked to give our view on the potential for new designations. We will set this out in our final report.”