South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership and 70 guests welcomed Ewen Cameron - Lord Cameron of Dillington as guest speaker to the Annual Forum held at Stokeley Barton Farm Shop near Kingsbridge. The cross bench peer was part of the Designated Landscapes review panel which reported in September. He spoke about the key recommendations of the report and how they would impact on the work of AONB Partnerships.
Ewen Cameron explained how the Review proposes that AONBs and National Parks become a positive force for the nation’s wellbeing, with the establishment of a new National Landscapes Service, with them playing a key role in nature recovery and the national response to climate change. They are also set to become priority areas for new environmental land management systems. Planning is dealt with in detail with a recommendation that AONBs become statutory consultees and a focus on delivery of affordable housing through a new national landscapes housing association.
AONB Manager Roger English commented “The proposed new National Landscapes Service to ensure collaboration between AONBs and National Parks is something we look forward to, building on our positive relationships with our near neighbours the Dartmoor National Park as well as other National Parks and other AONBs across the country.”
“I am very pleased that the Review specifically recognises the value of AONB designation and acknowledges the hard work and achievements of AONB staff, representatives and volunteers. I am also heartened that a clear case is made for AONBs to expand their purposes and to receive more funding and resources.”
“AONBs have the energy, skills, ambition and strong partnerships needed to deliver, and we call on the Government to provide us with the powers and resources to enable us to implement the findings of the Review and ultimately achieve a great deal more for nature and society.”
Mark Brooking of Stokeley Farm Shop talked about the challenges of running a successful business in the AONB. He outlined their focus on using local producers as far as possible.
Delegates also heard about current projects and were asked to contribute ideas towards celebrating the AONBs 60th anniversary in 2020.