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Essex/Suffolk: Minister visits Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Rick Vont, from RSPB, talks with Robert Erith, Chairman of the AONB Partnership, John Blair, from Field Studies, and Lord de Mauley, government minister for DEFRA, during a tour of Flatford Mill on Thursday, 5 June.

Rick Vont, from RSPB, talks with Robert Erith, Chairman of the AONB Partnership, John Blair, from Field Studies, and Lord de Mauley, government minister for DEFRA, during a tour of Flatford Mill on Thursday, 5 June.

Two parts of beautiful Suffolk and Essex countryside were visited by a government minister today.

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Lord Rupert de Mauley, Under Secretary of State for natural environment at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) visited the Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast and Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

During the tour he saw some of the varied projects taking place at both sites and met staff and volunteers.

Lord de Mauley said: “I came to the Suffolk Show last week, and I have been up here many times before to visit friends and I love it,

“I have had a really wonderful day today seeing how committed everybody is and how passionate they all are about the AONB, as well as seeing some pretty good cross-sections of examples of what is going on. It is very thrilling and exciting.

“There is a pure basis in making our beautiful landscapes protected such as the biodiversity of species they support.

“But what is really important, and different to some other countries, is that human involvement is absolutely integral to them.

“Our impact historically is now an important part of our culture and it is vital that young people can enjoy them and learn how important they are. And as we get older there’s another benefit as we can keep ourselves fit and in better health by going for walks in them.”

As well as the natural element of the AONB, the minister also saw how local businesses make the most of the countryside in the two counties.

He added: “The growth of the world economy is one of our key strategic priorities at Defra. We have talked today about how important it is to demonstrate that growth is possible at the same time as maintaining, and improving, our environment.

“The two AONBs I visited today are prime examples of that. Growth can be congruent with natural beauty rather than working against it.

“One plus one often makes a deal more than two by working together.”

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