Cathy's Blog - Big Week For The Environment

It’s been a big week for the environment, one way or another.

As the less-well-known-sibling to National Parks, it was good to hear the words “Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty” being spoken by a Prime Minister. That utterance was during Prime Ministers Question Time on 10 January, in response to a question about Chilterns AONB. The response was: “I assure her [Dame Cheryl Gillan] that we are committed to maintaining the strongest protections for AONBs and other designated landscapes”.

Hopefully those words remained in the PMs mind a day later at the launch of the government’s 25-year Environment Plan, so when she talked about committing to "protect and renew our natural inheritance for the next generation", she was principally thinking of the great work already being done in AONBs and National Parks. We also had clarification that Government will incorporate all existing environmental EU regulations into our statute: "Let me be clear, Brexit will not mean a lowering of environmental standards".

The launch then talked mostly about aspirations, and less about how and when this was going to happen, with the media picking up primarily on plastic pollution. It is great that awareness of the ‘environment’ has moved on and we enlightened readers of eaenvironment know that our environment is about the outstanding landscapes and sea-scapes around us, where our food comes from, where people and wildlife flourish, where we can breathe clean air and walk for more than two minutes in a green place away from noise… and feel healthier and be active.

Conserving the environment is part of a hugely complex subject, more than just sorting plastic pollution, and it needs legislative back up, so that everyone takes responsibility to reduce the impact of human activity on the natural environment. It feels a bit like ‘baby steps’. Things are going in an ‘environment’ direction, but there are wobbles and it’s slow going… and like teaching a baby to walk the government needs encouragement and to be shown the way, and I’ll add, to be told why taking steps is necessary anyway!

To top off our ‘environment week’ we hear that snowdrops are starting to appear… Welcome to a great new season of flourishing outstanding landscapes.

First published in the East Anglian Daily Times on 20 January 2018

By Cathy Smith on July 12th, 2018

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