Dedham Vale: Environment minister pays visit to Constable Country

THE stunning scenery of Constable Country was yesterday visited by a Government minister as part of a fact-finding tour.

Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries Richard Benyon was in the Stour Valley to learn about the work done by the people behind the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Stour Valley Partnership.

Speaking about his visit, Mr Benyon said: “I am visiting as many AONBs as I can to learn more about the work they do, the issues they face, and to discuss how they might best cope with the challenges ahead.

“I believe AONBs have a fundamental role to play in meeting our environmental objectives and the delivery of the Big Society, particularly, with regard to the expression and delivery of local priorities.

“I believe AONBs are managed remarkably well by AONB Partnerships and Conservation Boards and provide good value for money for the taxpayer.

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“I was very much looking forward to visiting this iconic English landscape famously captured by artists such as Constable and Gainsborough, and seeing some of the inspiring and practical projects that help enhance and protect the special nature of this area.”

Robert Erith, chairman of the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Partnership, showed the Minister key projects in the AONB and together with members of the partnership, discussed future priorities including involving the local community through opportunities.

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Mr Erith said: “I was delighted that the minister has chosen to visit the Dedham Vale AONB.

“We are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the designation of the AONB this year and this was a great opportunity for us to show him personally what has been achieved with the local community, what can be achieved in future and celebrate the beauty and culture of this special place on the Essex/Suffolk border.”

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