Simon's Blog - The Countryside
I’ve have managed to get out into the nationally designated Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast & Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) quite a bit over the past couple of weeks. You may consider that to be an unsurprising statement from the manager of the staff team at the AONBs, but like many I spend a lot of my working life in front of a computer screen and a lot of my leisure time undertaking household and DIY chores.
In my working life I hear a lot about public good, health benefits and economic gains of the countryside, indeed I often talk about the work of the AONB team in these terms. But these visits to the AONBs have included walks and cycle rides, buying lunch and volunteering in an orchard. I have thoroughly enjoyed these different events but put another way I have been improving my health and well being (and hopefully reducing the burden on the public purse in years to come), supporting local businesses (that is how I describe my pub lunch) and helping wildlife (management of an orchard).
My point is we should cherish our Outstanding Landscapes and all the benefits they bestow on us as individuals and society in general. We all take different things from the countryside including the very essence of life gained from the food that is grown there. There are well recognised other benefits too. I am sure we all wish to that the review of AONBs announced in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan will recognise all the benefits that designated landscapes, such as AONBs, can bring and help us support further outstanding achievements for another 70 years.
First published in the East Anglian Daily Times on 23 June 2018