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Our response to the government’s statement on Protected Landscapes

Tomo Thompson
By Tomo Thompson
24th June 2021

CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire, which is also the National Park Society for the Peak District, strongly welcomes the Government’s headline response today to the Landscapes Review.

We are pleased that the Government will commit to more funding for protected landscapes, through a range of routes, including support for nature recovery and more environmentally friendly farming, which will also improve public access to farmed areas.

But we believe there is more to be done to ensure more inclusive access to national parks and AONBs, which needs to start at school age and across all groups in society. Covid has shown that our countryside is a vital ‘breathing space’ that needs to be open to everyone. More needs to be done to make this a reality.

New protected landscapes and national nature reserves, (Yorkshire Wolds and Cheshire Sandstone Ridge will be considered for status as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as extensions to the existing Surrey Hills and Chilterns protected areas) will also help protect landscape and nature at a time when development threats are at an all time high and the state of our biodiversity at an all time low.

We note the intention to have more cohesive direction for national parks and AONBs whilst retaining their local powers, including strengthening the status and support for AONBs. More protection for AONBs has long been called for nationally by CPRE.

Looking to the future, we now need to see more detail to “put the flesh on the bones” of the WMS. This will require a mixture of enhanced financial support, changes to legislation as well as better co-ordination across Government.

We look forward to seeing the full response to the Landscapes Review in the near future which – to succeed – must address at pace both the climate emergency, our nature crisis, and how protected landscapes must respond and play their full part.