Conservation Board proposal shelved

Our two Councils and the Partnership made in November 2016 a formal proposal to Defra to create a Conservation Board for the Shropshire Hills AONB, and resubmitted this in August 2017 after Ministerial guidance was issued.

In March we met Lord Gardiner, Defra Minister, and learned that since a national review of National Parks and AONBs has been included in Defra’s recent 25 Year Environment Plan, there will be no move to create a Conservation Board ahead of that review.

The review is to look at coverage of designations, delivery mechanisms and financing, and the Minister described an ‘upward trajectory’, seeking to improve benefits from the designated areas rather than curtail them. This may come up with new or amended structures for AONBs.

The AONB Partnership had looked at other potential models for an independent structure, but since these are untested among AONBs in England and Wales, the Partnership has decided not to pursue these further.

Until the national review is completed, the Partnership will therefore remain within the current model of hosting by Shropshire Council, and seek to optimise this arrangement for the benefit of the AONB.