More funding needed to help strengthen Suffolk's protected landscapes

Suffolk AONB

Nick Collinson believes everyone should have the opportunity to access and enjoy AONB, but says funding is needed to protect them - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The chair of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Partnership has called for funding to be doubled to help protect the environment following the government's response to a landscape review.

The government has said it will look to build a more coherent national network between areas of outstanding natural beauty and National Parks, plus look at how these landscapes can be protected and help the country achieve its environmental ambitions.

Suffolk Coast

The Suffolk coast at Walberswick on a beautiful day - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The response follows the 2019 Designated Landscapes Review, which concluded that National Parks and AONBs have not done enough to protect nature or welcome diverse visitors, and extra government funding is needed to help drive "radical change".

The review found that the vast majority of AONBs are indistinguishable from National Parks and are just as important for people and nature - but lack equivalent recognition in law or support in resources.

Nick Collinson, chair of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Partnership, said: “We would like to see a clear vision for how designated landscapes can deliver for nature and help deliver the 25 Year Environment Plan. AONB Partnerships should be strengthened and granted greater independence and influence to protect and manage their landscapes.

"We need our AONBs to benefit everyone. People living in towns and cities should have opportunities to access and enjoy these places, and benefit from the opportunities for connecting with nature and experiencing the shared cultural heritage that they offer.

Nick Collinson, General Manager for the National Trust in East Suffolk . Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Nick Collinson is also the general manager for the National Trust in the East of England - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"Glover [leader of the 2019 review] recommended an immediate doubling of core funding. We need this to happen over this parliament as an immediate fix, then would look to work with Defra to develop a dynamic and progressive formula which reflects ambition and future needs.”


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Simon Amstutz, AONB manager, said: “The AONB Partnerships are likely to welcome a new approach to closer collaboration between the national AONB network, National Parks England, Natural England and Defra on things like resourcing, training, sharing good practice. The Partnerships will look closely to what the Government is proposing around AONB governance which should reflect the national importance of the designation whilst keeping decision making local”.

The Government’s response to the review includes a short consultation for those proposals where legislation may be required for implementation.

The consultation runs for 12 weeks until Saturday April 9.

To find out more about the consultation and submit a response, visit: www.gov.uk/government/consultations.

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