Proposals Announced to Create and Improve England’s Protected Landscapes

Natural England has announced proposals for new protected areas across England, alongside a programme to examine how more areas could benefit from landscape improvements.

Yorkshire Wolds and Cheshire Sandstone Ridge will be considered for status as new Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and extensions have been proposed to the existing Surrey Hills and Chilterns AONBs.

Alongside Natural England’s announcements, Environment Secretary George Eustice, has published a written statement in which he responds to the 2019 Glover (or Landscapes) Review which considered how to improve the management of our National Parks and AONBs.

In the statement, George Eustice announced a new Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, which will provide additional investment to allow farmers and other land managers to “work in partnership with National Park Authorities and AONB teams to improve public access, and deliver bigger and better outcomes for the environment”. The funding will go towards one-off projects to support nature recovery, improve public access, mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide opportunities for people to enjoy and understand the landscape, and support nature-friendly and sustainable farm businesses.

The statement also recognises calls from the review to direct more funding to support nature’s recovery in protected landscapes, and to strengthen the status and support given to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and has committed to consult on draft proposals later this year.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

We have an opportunity to create a new chapter for our protected landscapes.

The work that we are going to take forward will contribute to our commitment to protect 30% of our land by 2030, and boost biodiversity, while designating more areas of the country for their natural beauty.

Our Farming in Protected Landscapes programme will provide additional investment to allow farmers to work in partnership with our National Park Authorities and AONB teams to improve public access.

CIEEM responded to the initial inquiry as part of the Glover Review and intends to respond to the forthcoming consultation. You can see our previous response here.