Simon's Blog - AONB Boundaries

In other pages of the East Anglian you will see news of a consultation on proposals to extend the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and I urge you to take part in this to express your views. You may also be aware of a long-standing aspiration of the Dedham Vale AONB Partnership to extend its boundary.

AONB Partnerships are made up of a variety of environmental, agricultural, business and community organisations and it is worth noting that both designated landscapes in Suffolk and Essex wish to see an extension of the AONB status.

I think that this in part is due to the desire of people to leave the countryside in a better state that they found it in. Indeed, this is very much the aspiration of the Government’s recently published 25 year environment plan. I meet many people in my job working for the AONBs and almost without fail they all share an aspiration to improve the area.

This includes those from the agriculture sector, wildlife charities, local and national government, businesses and residents. The AONB model is a fantastic way to conserve and enhance these national assets. The areas are protected by national legislation but policy to them is guided at a local level through the Partnerships and Advisory Committees. No single organisation is given priority and the golden thread to their future well-being is the principle outlined in law to conserve and enhance natural beauty.

AONBs are special places shaped by agriculture. The landscape views, the wildlife, the heritage and the recreational opportunities bring with them a wide range of economic and health benefits.

For these reasons it is no wonder, and very much welcome, that those that live, work and visit the AONBs are passionate about their future. The current consultation on extending the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB is an opportunity to express your views.

My view is an extended AONB can bring a wealth of opportunities. An extended AONB can bring economic and health benefits to new area and conserve and enhance this bit of countryside for the future.

First published in the East Anglian Daily Times on 3 February 2018

By Cathy Smith on July 12th, 2018

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