Britain to Get New Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

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Good news! The Yorkshire Wolds and Cheshire Sandstone Ridge will soon become Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to conserve their rich natural appeal, the government has announced.

For the first time in 26 years since Britain had new beauty zones, the areas being considered come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson commits to protect 30{028e8b43b440f88d50a94b0ac799d5b93a220d942414697744f001bd74eb64d0} of British land by 2030. While it is likely to take several years for them to be granted AONB status, it will help safeguard beautiful patchwork hills, dramatic dales and ancient woodlands.

Spread across the country, the areas being considered for designation include:

1. The Yorkshire Wolds, famous for its tranquil landscape of rolling hills, valleys and ancient woodland.

2. Cheshire Sandstone Ridge, a diverse and celebrated landscape located in the heart of Cheshire. Loved for its vast wildlife, rich heritage and archaeology, it really is a real gem worth preserving.

3. An extension to the Surrey Hills AONB, including areas of high scenic quality, chalk grassland, parkland and historic features adjacent to the existing AONB.

4. An extension to the Chilterns AONB, which will include many special features such as chalk streams, native woodland and wildflower-rich hills. It hopes it will bring nature closer to those living in London.

    In addition to the proposals for two new AONBs, Natural England will also be considering proposals for new National Nature Reserves, plus will implement a more collaborative and swifter process to new National Park and AONB designations.

    woodland trail in chilterns, uk

    A woodland path in the Chilterns AONB

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    “The benefits of our stunning, protected landscapes go far beyond their visual appeal, from enhancing our wellbeing, providing places for living and working communities, to making an important contribution to nature recovery and combating the climate emergency,” Chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper, said.

    “I’m delighted to see the growth and protection of these areas is an increasingly prominent Government priority. I look forward to working closely with Defra, National Parks England and the National Association for AONBs to make these special areas richer in nature, accessible for all to connect with for their well-being and to deliver a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

    Natural England has also set out its ambition to develop new approaches to drive nature recovering, while improving people’s connection with the outdoors — especially those in cities. Focussing on improving people’s quality of life, they have revealed plans to build on the idea of ‘national park cities’ next to where people live.

    Jo Smith, chief executive of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, adds: “What is needed is urgent action, political will and more resources, to repair and heal the natural world across the National Parks that we already have.”

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