In a significant milestone for the UK, all designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England and Wales are becoming National Landscapes.
The name change comes as a reflection of its national importance and is being recognised as the next step in fulfilling the National Landscapes’ visionary remit of restoring ecosystems, providing food and safeguarding against drought and flooding, whilst positively impacting on people’s health and wellbeing.
By 2023, National Landscapes aims to have at least 200,000-hectares of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) within its borders in favourable condition; 100,000-hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside of SSSIs created or restored, and 36,000-hectares of woodland planted or allowed to regeneration.
National Landscapes Partnerships will also focus on habitat restoration to safeguard some of the nations most endangered species, Tony Juniper, chair of natural england says: “Modern challenges require new approaches.”
He adds that “so much more from these wonderful places,” is needed, in addition to their environmental benefits, they also provide support to “sustaining local communities and enhancing historic environments.”
Over 170m people visit at least one of the 46 National Landscapes within the UK. The total area of National Landscapes equates to 14% of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.