Cathy's Blog - Reviews and Views

May 2018 was the hottest recorded in the UK, so what has happened to June? Walking on the coast last weekend was more a case of ‘what view’, as the mist was so thick you could barely see ten metres! We wait to see if this up-and-down weather pattern further affects nature and wildlife. Some plants and the breeding season were delayed by the ’late’ spring, and then the heat last month boosted growth everywhere!

We also wait to see what affect the review of designated landscapes, both Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks, will bring. Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), announced the start of a Designated Landscape Review on Sunday 27 May 2018. This Designated Landscape Review was indicated in Defra's 25 Year Environment Plan (launched Jan 2018), and it is great to see it starting.

The Defra-led cross party review will look at how designated landscapes can bolster wildlife, improve visitor access and support the people who live and work in them. The report will be presented in 2019, the 70th anniversary year of the first designated landscapes, created by the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.

The National Association for AONBs Chairman, Philip Hygate, said: “The world has changed significantly since the designation of the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but our fundamental requirement for beautiful, inspiring places in which to live, work, and relax is probably greater now than ever before”.

The review is not going to diminish the character or independence of our designated landscapes, or impose new burdens on them. Instead, its purpose is to ask what might be done better, what changes could assist us, and whether definitions and systems - which in many cases date back to their original creation - are still sufficient.

This is an exciting time to really discover how much our local designated landscapes can continue to deliver for Essex/Suffolk society, economy, and nature. England is a more beautiful and more diverse place because previous generations took the care to campaign for the creation of these special landscapes, and we want to see this continue.

First published in the East Anglian Daily Times on 9 June 2018

By Cathy Smith on July 12th, 2018

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