The much anticipated report of the Glover Review into our protected landscapes (National Parks and AONB, which it describes as National Landscapes) was published at the end of September. This is a thoughtful document and its 168 pages deserve a careful read.
The introduction sums up the findings:
Our country is changing fast. It is becoming more diverse. More urban. Much busier. New forms of farming, carbon emissions, the sprawl of housing, new technology and social shifts have changed the relationship between people and the countryside, and left nature and our climate in crisis.
The way we protect and improve our landscapes needs to change radically to respond to this. If their natural beauty is to be in a better condition 70 years from today, even better to look at, far more biodiverse, and alive with people from all backgrounds and parts of the country, they cannot carry on as they do now.
The overall message is clear – that there is much to celebrate in what has been achieved in the 70 years since protected landscapes were first bought into being, but this falls far short of what can be achieved and what people want.
The review focusses on five main areas:
- Landscapes alive for nature and beauty
- Landscapes for everyone
- Living in landscapes
- More special places
- New ways of working
27 detailed proposals are set out under each of these headings. Some of these are particularly relevant to our clients:
- A new National Landscapes Service, an entirely new separate body bringing the 44 landscapes together to support them in their mission and hold to account
- Strengthened Management Plans to set priorities backed up with stronger status in law
- A backbone of Nature Recovery Networks
- Central place in the new Environmental Land Management Schemes
- Connecting people with our National Landscapes including the much quoted night under the stars in a national landscape for every child, linking to health and well being
- Potential for some larger AONBs to take on National Park Status (e.g Chilterns, Cotswolds),
- AONBs strengthened and rebranded as National Landscapes
- New designated landscapes and a new National Forest and support for urban designations
- A Better designations process
- Reformed governance and more money
The report is strong on vision and ideas. How can we not support its proposals for more, better and connected flourishing national landscapes? Implementation is going to be the test. We are looking forward to applying our skills and expertise to help.