AONBs For Everybody? Simon's Blog
The Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast & Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are designated by Government to conserve and enhance their natural beauty. The investment by Government and local authorities into these special landscapes means everyone should be able to enjoy them. This does not mean these special areas are parks with open access or the right to roam. They are often farmed landscapes with opportunities to enjoy outstanding views and associated wildlife from publically accessible places.
The investment from the public purse, in terms of contributions to environmentally aware farming and ensuring suitable development through the planning system, is more than matched by private money. This might be the investment of environment charities members’ subscriptions into the landscapes, wildlife habitats or heritage assets. It is often the case that companies and private individuals invest their own money in undertaking work that contributes to the outstanding landscapes special qualities, such as wildlife sympathetic farming, ensuring new development does not impact the landscape or contributing to wildlife projects.
I find it disappointing to hear people talking about not wanting visitors to the area. I acknowledge that mass tourism can detract from an area’s natural beauty but it is easy in our precious landscapes to find quieter areas to enjoy. Given the investment of public funds in the areas natural beauty it is surely something that should be available to all. Many of our local businesses understand this and invest in the area as they understand that the very landscape that people come to enjoy needs to be looked after to ensure the continuing success of their businesses. Indeed, many of those businesses would not be viable if we had no visitors wanting to eat, drink and sleep.
So I say let us welcome visitors to our outstanding landscapes. That does not mean that we should accept anti-social behaviours, such as dropping litter, trespassing or inconsiderate parking. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are designated by Government for all of us to enjoy. Visitors can play an important part in building the economic recovery of our rural areas.
First produced for the EADT Nov 2016