On Saturday (15 January) the Government published its response to the LandscapeReview: National Parks and AONBs, an independent review led by Julian Glover and published in 2019.

The Cannock Chase AONB Partnership welcomes the Government’s long-awaited response, particularly the opportunity to reinvigorate the status of AONBs with new purposes and powers that will help us to:

  • Drive nature recovery within our landscape
  • Address the challenges posed by climate change
  • Encourage improved access to our protected landscape for all parts of society
  • Strengthen our role in the planning system
  • Improve governance including strengthened duties for public bodies.

Frances Beatty, Chair of the Cannock Chase AONB Joint Committee said:

 “Our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, our most cherished landscapes, are seriously at risk and need emergency action now.  Cannock Chase, despite its designation as a nationally protected landscape, is at high risk.  There are threats to its beauty, its historic features and its landscapes: from inappropriate development; visitor pressure and land degradation; water pollution; the intense increase in light pollution, and above all catastrophic species decline.  

 This government consultation is welcome.  It’s the first major review of protected landscapes since they were first created over 70 years ago, a once in a lifetime opportunity for people to shape how protected landscapes will deliver benefits for people and nature for years to come.

 AONB teams have a proven track record of collaborative working with partners, local communities, landowners and business to keep these precious landscapes special.   Yet this government consultation fully acknowledges the utterly inadequate current funding for managing Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.   Overall core funding to AONBs has been slashed by an eye watering 36% over the past 10 years.  Government funding between all 34 AONBs in England totals just £6m per year.   An uplift will be essential to achieve all that is being asked of us in this report, to deliver the ambition for more beautiful, species-rich and accessible landscapes set out by Julian Glover and his team. 

 Cannock Chase AONB Partnership welcomes the government’s direction and is set to do more.   We look forward to working with Government to use this opportunity to strengthen AONBs as exemplars of 21st century designated landscapes”.

Next steps 

The consultation will run for 12 weeks, closing on 9 April 2022.  Cannock Chase AONB Partnership will be working with key partners and stakeholders to develop a detailed response to the consultation, which we will publish on our website, once it has been submitted.

Have your say!  Landscapes are for everyone and so too is the consultation.  We therefore encourage everyone to get involved.

This is your landscape, have your say, get involved.

Read the Government’s response 

Respond to the consultation

Photo credit: Sam Carpenter