The Government have confirmed that two of England’s most iconic landscapes are being considered to become new Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), alongside extensions to the Surrey Hills and Chilterns AONBs, under plans to create new protected landscapes and improve people’s access to nature.
- The Yorkshire Wolds, along with Cheshire Sandstone Ridge will be considered for status as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty,
- New funding programme launched to support farmers to improve protected landscapes
- Renewed commitment to boost nature recovery and help more people from all part of society access Britain’s most beautiful landscapes as we build back greener from the pandemic
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust welcome the Government’s ambition to protect the Yorkshire Wolds, this is a wonderful recognition of an amazing landscape.
We know that the Yorkshire Wolds is an incredibly important landscape, rich in natural and cultural heritage, and designating it as a new AONB would offer additional protections for this place we value so highly. We have worked here for decades protecting and conserving the internationally important chalk streams, and species including rare lamprey, barn owl, and brown hare.
We know from our work promoting nature tourism in East Yorkshire that more people are visiting the region to enjoy wildlife watching in this beautiful place. Our work with landowners over the last 20 years is reaping incredible rewards with many already improving areas for wildlife and nature, for example through the dew pond restoration programme.
But this is only a starting point, and protection needs to go much further than just the ground and water where these species thrive. Through the network we have, we want to work further with farmers and landowners through the new protected landscapes programme, but we need landscape protection to also support an abundance of wildlife, as well as contribute to tackling our climate and nature emergencies.
Our AONBs play a crucial role here in Yorkshire and we fully support their ongoing work – our call is on Government to do more and support a wider wildlife, and climate emergency remit through better funding and resources.
In May 2018, Defra commissioned Julian Glover and an independent panel to consider how we might improve the management of our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). Their report, the Landscapes Review, was published in September 2019. The government will respond to the review’s recommendations in full later this year.
- Yorkshire Wildlife Trust chalk stream restoration at Skerne.
- Initial findings from research conducted by Leeds Beckett University in 2019 revealed that the value of wildlife watching trips has increased from £9 million to £24 million a year over the previous eight years.
- Read the national response from The Wildlife Trusts