Government proposals to strengthen protected landscapes announced

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Plans to boost nature recovery and safeguard England’s national parks for future generations have been set out.

The proposals, which will be subject to consultation, are set out in the Government’s response to Julian Glover’s independent Landscapes Review which looked at whether the protections for National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are still fit for purpose.

Environment Secretary George Eustice commented on the announcement on 15th January: “Our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are amongst our nation’s greatest and most cherished natural wonders.

“The comprehensive set of measures set out today represents a new chapter in the story of our protected landscapes and we have worked closely with stakeholders to carefully form our response.

“These reforms will play a pivotal role in meeting our international commitment to protect 30% of land for biodiversity by 2030 as we build back greener.”

The 12-week consultation will also seek views on proposals, including:

  • encourage improved access to protected landscapes and nature for all parts of society, particularly where this supports improved public health and wellbeing;
  • continue support for the local communities that live and work in protected landscapes, helping preserve heritage for future generations;
  • drive nature recovery and nature-based solutions within protected landscapes to help address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change; and
  • apply structural changes and resources to support protected landscapes in delivering more for nature, climate, people and places.

The Government’s response sets out changes to increase access to nature and ensure protected landscapes can deliver more for climate, nature, people and places for the next 70 years and beyond.

A new national landscapes partnership will bring together those responsible for managing England’s National Parks and AONBs to collaborate, share knowledge and tackle common objectives such as nature recovery and improved public access.

This announcement forms part of the Government’s wider action to recover and restore nature, delivering on the pledge within the 25 Year Environment Plan to protect 30% of the UK’s land by 2030 and commitments to achieve net zero by 2050.

The consultation closes on Saturday 9th April 2022.

More information about the ‘Landscapes review (National Parks and AONBs): implementing the review’-consultation is available on the UK Government website.