Photo: Andrew Foster
England – Earlier in 2018 Environment Secretary Michael Gove launched an independent review into the nation’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). The closing date for responses is 18 December 2018.
Nearly 70 years after the country’s National Parks were first established, opening up the countryside and allowing more people to connect with nature, an independent panel will look at how these iconic landscapes meet our needs in the 21st century – including whether there is scope for the current network of 34 AONBs and 10 National Parks to expand.
The review, led by writer Julian Glover, will also explore how access to these beloved landscapes can be improved, how those who live and work in them can be better supported, and their role in growing the rural economy.
Undertaking a review is one of the key commitments of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, which outlines the vision for improving the environment over a generation by connecting people with nature and helping wildlife to thrive.
The review will look at:
- the existing statutory purposes for National Parks and AONBs and how effectively they are being met
- the alignment of these purposes with the goals set out in the 25-Year Environment Plan
- the case for extension or creation of new designated areas
- how to improve individual and collective governance of National Parks and AONBs, and how that governance interacts with other national assets
- the financing of National Parks and AONBs
- how to enhance the environment and biodiversity in existing designations
- how to build on the existing eight-point plan for National Parks and to connect more people with the natural environment from all sections of society and improve health and wellbeing
- how well National Parks and AONBs support communities
- the process of designating National Parks and AONBs and extending boundary areas, with a view to improving and expediting the process