SDNPA responds to Glover Review on protected landscapes
In spring 2018 the Government launched a review of England’s protected landscapes, nearly seventy years on from the creation of our country’s first National Parks in the midst of post-war reconstruction. The review is led by Julian Glover and is a ‘once in a generation’ chance to look at how these precious landscapes, our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), are doing, how they can be better protected and what can be done so that everyone benefits from them.
In our response we consider the huge pressures that the South Downs faces as Britain’s newest National Park, situated in the busiest part of the country. Our precious woods and chalk downs, heaths and mixed farms are mostly privately owned and, outside planning, the SDNPA has no special powers to support good wildlife management and access or help rural communities and businesses. We have made more than fifty proposals and our key messages include:
- The Partnership Management Plan for the National Park needs to have more weight with all the public bodies who operate within the boundaries, with a stronger Duty put on them so that public money is always used in ways that enhance, rather than damage, what makes the South Downs special;
- The SDNPA should be able to design and run the new scheme for supporting farmers to look after wildlife, access and heritage in the National Park once we leave the EU, and to create a nature recovery network across the South Downs and beyond its boundaries linking with our neighbour AONBs;
- We should be able to work with County Councils, the NHS and Public Health England to make the South Downs much more accessible to a wider group of people, especially those who are not able to access it at the moment, who would benefit most from better health and who live just over the boundary.
Julian Glover has been asked to make his final recommendations to Government by the Autumn of 2019 in time for the 70th anniversary of Britain’s first National Parks. But first he and his support team at Defra have the mammoth task of reviewing more than a thousand responses to their call for evidence.