Government asked to unleash the potential of designated landscapes

Published: 06 October 2020

Last update: 06 October 2020

Blog post
This blog post is written by Ingrid Samuel Ingrid Samuel
Visitors walking by the river in Dovedale, Derbyshire

Today we’ve made a joint call to Defra Secretary of State George Eustice urging him to take action to unleash the potential of designated landscapes for people, climate and nature.

A year after the publication of Julian Glover’s Landscapes Review we’ve joined with Campaign for National Parks, Wildlife Trusts, Ramblers, Open Spaces Society, RSPB, CPRE, YHA, and the AONB network to ask Mr Eustice to publish the Government’s proposals for implementing the Review’s recommendations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much access to high-quality natural environments matters to the nation’s health and wellbeing. And how sadly unequal access to nature is across different areas of society. 

Nearly three quarters of National Trust land lies within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and we strongly share the Review’s belief in the importance of ensuring as many people as possible can access the amazing countryside. 

National Parks and AONBs can play a leading role in a green recovery from the pandemic. Together, these landscapes cover a quarter of England’s landmass, and a substantial proportion of the most important habitats for driving nature’s recovery and locking up carbon, which are critical in the wider context of addressing the nature and climate crises.

They also make an important contribution to local economies and have the potential to engage all parts of society with nature, beauty and our shared heritage.

However, The Landscapes Review notes that many National Park Authorities and AONBs have demonstrated ambition on these matters but, overall, these landscapes are not bucking the trends of alarming wildlife loss and habitat degradation and are failing to reach out to new audiences.

The Review’s recommendations focus on what needs to be done to ensure nature’s recovery in designated areas and improve their role in engaging people from all parts of society. 

Ideas like:

  • ensuring that every child and young person can access high quality learning and residential experiences in the National Parks and AONBs;
  • regular state of nature assessments and ambitious management plans with measurable targets to recover nature and fight the climate crisis;
  • greater protections for designated landscapes to ensure that neighbouring bodies also have a duty to further the purposes of designated landscapes, vital in light of the recently proposed changes to the planning system.  
  • increased, multi-year funding settlements to enable the National Park Authorities and AONBs to plan, invest and innovate for the future, linking funding to performance on their statutory purposes and on tackling climate change.

The Review’s recommendations seem more relevant now than ever before, so we really need to see the Government’s plans to implement them.  We look forward to the Secretary of State’s response to our letter and will keep you posted on progress.

Children exploring nature at Kingston Lacy

Working towards a green recovery 

With support from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, we’re kickstarting a green recovery that secures our future with action on climate and the environment, while ensuring everyone can enjoy nature-rich green spaces on their doorstep and access local heritage and shared cultural spaces.