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AONB WELCOMES DEFRA 25-YEAR PLAN
THE Defra 25-Year Plan, which was launched last week, includes the promise that Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) will be reviewed for the 21st century, while an assessment will be undertaken on whether more may be needed. Additionally, the Plan states that over the next quarter of a century the government is committed to making sure that AONBs are not only conserved but enhanced.
A Green Future: Our 25-year Plan to Improve the Environment notes that the creation of designated landscapes, including AONBs, which make up 15% of the landscape in England, has been among the outstanding environmental achievements of the past 100 years. “They provide a patchwork of stunning, and protected, landscapes. We will make sure they continue to be conserved and enhanced, while recognising that they are living landscapes that support rural communities,” runs the report.
“We welcome the 25-Year Plan,” said Cranborne Chase AONB director Linda Nunn. “It clearly sets out ways to improve the environment for the benefit of people and wildlife and that can only be for the benefit of all. There are so many elements within the Plan which make perfect sense, including improving the way we manage land, to improve soil health and water quality, putting the environment at the heart of planning and development and introducing a new environmental land management system which will incentivise and reward land managers to restore and improve our natural capital and rural heritage into the future.
“On the Cranborne Chase AONB we have already seen how working closely with farmers can help to boost numbers of endangered birds. Several farming clusters are aiding the conservation of wildlife and enhancing the landscape of the AONB. Farming clusters are one of the tools mentioned in the 25-Year Plan.”
The Plan’s 25-year goals are clean air, clean and plentiful water, thriving plants and wildlife, a reduced risk of harm from environmental hazards, such as flooding and drought, using resources from nature more sustainably and efficiently and enhanced beauty, heritage and community engagement with the natural environment.
The Plan also makes it clear that the government wishes to develop a Nature Recovery Network which will involve the development of maps and advice to show where actions to improve and restore habitats would be most effective. It has designated 2019 the year of green action with the #iwill campaign designed to encourage people to take positive steps to help the natural environment. The government will also launch a three-year Natural Environment for Health and Wellbeing programme.
The Plan is the culmination of more than two years of close work and consultation with environmental bodies, including the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB).
“The Plan asks organisations in this country to join Defra in its commitment to improving the environment. We are certainly ready to assist in any way we can,” said Linda Nunn.