Friday 11 October 2019
The Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB) warmly welcomes the Glover Report on National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), produced for the Government and published in September 2019. Coming seventy years after the first National Parks were designated, the report is a thorough analysis of what nationally protected landscapes are achieving and could achieve in the future. The report recommends some exciting and inspiring proposals to ensure that our special landscapes are healthier, greener, more beautiful and open to everyone.
We are pleased that the achievements of the family of 33 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in England – limited in both resources and planning powers – has been acknowledged in the Review. However, we also recognise the huge potential to do more, and do it better, and welcome the recommendation to bring National Parks and AONBs together as one family of ‘National Landscapes’, affording us a bigger voice, stronger purposes, more ambition and new ways of working to meet the challenges.
The Chilterns landscape is under pressure from unprecedented levels of housing and infrastructure development – including HS2 and the Oxford to Cambridge growth arc – increasing urbanisation, loss of biodiversity and habitat fragmentation against a global backdrop of climate change and alarming declines in wildlife.
We therefore welcome the Glover Report recognising the immense pressure on protected landscapes, especially the Chilterns, commenting, “Some national landscapes – the Chilterns for instance – risk changing very fast as a result and mostly not for the better. We shouldn’t just accept this as sadly unavoidable. It should shame our generation to leave uglier, less liveable human settlements than those left for us by the generations which came before.”
Dr Elaine King, Chief Executive Officer of the Chilterns Conservation Board, said:
“We welcome the ambition and straight-talking approach of the Glover Report and very much agree that more must be done for nature, natural beauty and for people who live in and visit our special landscapes.
The recommendation that the Chilterns be made a National Park is particularly welcome. A Chilterns National Park would bring a coordinated approach to planning and the increased resources needed to address the huge challenges facing the Chilterns and help us to improve its resilience for nature and for people, now and into the future.
“We look forward to working closely with the Government, local authorities, farmers and landowners, and others that care about the Chilterns, to explore National Park status and in such a way that everyone’s views and needs are taken into account.”
The Chilterns Conservation Board also welcomes the challenge for protected landscapes to take a lead on improving both the nature of England’s landscapes and the lives of people who are connected to them. For example, we are already exploring ways in which we can better ensure the recovery of nature and tackle the impacts of climate change.
With the heart of the Chilterns AONB just an hour from Trafalgar Square by tube, and so close to towns and cities including Luton, Aylesbury and High Wycombe, we are also acutely aware of the opportunity and need to engage with more and a wider diversity of people. We continue to expand our work with a wide range of partners to create ambitious, landscape-scale projects which deliver more for nature, wildlife and people. Greater resources would enable us to reach more people and have a greater, more sustained, impact on people’s lives.
For further information, images and interviews please contact Vicki Pearce, Communications Officer at The Chilterns Conservation Board on 01844 355 521 or at email@example.com.