Plans to improve protected landscapes

Government has unveiled its plans on protected landscapes across England
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Government has put forward its proposals to create and improve protected landscapes across England.

The Yorkshire Wolds and the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge have been put forward to be recognised as protected areas alongside extensions to the existing Surrey Hills and Chilterns protected areas.

These four areas will now be formally considered for ‘AONB’ status by Natural England and are considered to have the potential to deliver over 40% of the additional 4,000km2 required to meet the UK’s commitment to protect 30% of our land by 2030.

Designation stifles economic growth, hampering rural businesses from re-investing in their communities to offer affordable houses and create new jobs

CLA Deputy President Mark Tufnell

Mark Tufnell, Deputy President of the CLA, said:

“We are behind government’s aims and ambitions to protect and enhance the natural environment and the biodiversity that underpins it.

“But the lack of detail raises more questions than answers on how these ambitions will be achieved. Our main concern is how the government’s commitment to designate additional protected landscapes will be taken forward. This should not be to randomly satisfy a target, but done for the right reasons to protect our finest landscapes.

“Currently, designation stifles economic growth, hampering rural businesses from re-investing in their communities to offer affordable houses and create new jobs. Planning rules often lead to one sector, such as tourism, becoming dominant which makes local economies and communities far more vulnerable to shocks like Covid-19. The rural economy is 18% less productive than the national average, and this will only increase if the designation system isn’t reformed to ensure a commitment to economic resilience and sustainable communities.”

A new Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is also being launched, which will provide funding to help farmers and other land managers, in England based in National Parks or AONBs, to make improvements to the natural environment and improve public access on their land.

The funding is aimed to 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.

For more information, click here https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/