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Chilterns Conservation Board welcomes the Glover Review of Protected Landscapes

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. 

 

Notes

 

  1. The Designated Landscapes Review – the ‘Glover Review’ was published on 21 September 2019, having been commissioned by Michael Gove when he was Secretary of State at DEFRA. See here for the full report and a summary of key findings. 
  2. The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was designated in 1965 and covers 833 sq kms (326 sq miles) stretching from Goring, in Oxfordshire, to near Hitchin, in Hertfordshire. A home and workplace for over 80,000 people, the Chilterns AONB is the third largest AONB in England and is designated as one of the finest landscapes in the country.
  3. The Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB) is a public body, established following the passing of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000. Its statutory purposes are to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Chilterns AONB and to increase understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities. It also has a duty, working with the local authorities, to seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities.
  4. In July 2018, the CCB submitted a request to Natural England that it be designated as a National Park. 
  5. The recommendation that the Chilterns be considered for National Park status is made on pages 119/120 of the Glover Review. The Review says “It is precisely because the government has made big strategic choices for the region – such as HS2, the Oxford-Cambridge growth corridor, the Heathrow expansion and new homes – that it should also consider a big strategic choice now in favour of a new National Park for the Chilterns. The Chilterns is an obvious choice for National Park status. It is already designated as an AONB. It more than meets the criterion for recreational opportunity, with 10m people living within an hour’s drive, many just a tube ride away. That number will increase given developments around its boundaries and in the Oxford-Cambridge corridor.”

 

Further information

 

For further information, images and interviews please contact Vicki Pearce, Communications Officer at The Chilterns Conservation Board on 01844 355 521 or at vpearce@chilternsaonb.org.

 

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