Julian Glover visits the Shropshire Hills AONB as part of national review

In mid January the Shropshire Hills hosted a 2-day visit by Julian Glover, who is tasked by government with leading an independent review of designated landscapes, as part of the 25 Year Environment Plan.  His visit to the Shropshire Hills is one of many he and his panel are making to National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty nationally to meet and talk with people who live, work or have a connection to these designated landscapes.
Phil Holden, AONB Partnership Manager, explained “His tour of the Shropshire Hills included site visits to look at conservation work, planning issues, visitor pressure and awareness raising activities.  He also joined a series of meetings to hear views around farming and land management, and about interest in extending the AONB boundary or changing the designation.”
During his visit, Julian gained insight from people with a wide range of perspectives on the AONB, including NFU and CLA representatives, Philip Dunne MP and local Councillors, and members of the AONB Partnership and the AONB Trust.  He joined children from Norbury Primary School at their inspirational ‘Eat the View’ café and heard about their outdoor learning activities supported by the AONB team.  He also visited the River Clun to see project work with farmers, and Carding Mill Valley where visitor pressures and sustainable tourism initiatives were discussed.
Phil concluded, “We packed a lot into Julian’s programme to share people’s passion for the Shropshire Hills landscape, look at some of the issues and discuss concerns.  Mvisit to Beambridge R Clunany thanks are due to all who contributed.”
Julian was keen to stress he will not be making recommendations on individual AONBs and National Parks in his report.  The Review is a broader look at the system of designated landscapes, how effectively their purposes are being met and how they can help to deliver the 25 Year Plan for the Environment.
The AONB Partnership’s evidence to the review says that the designation needs to be given more weight, especially in planning decisions.  It also says that AONB units deliver very effectively in partnership and can do more, that more secure structures for governance are needed, and a higher profile given to the designation.
Further details about the Review and the AONB Partnership’s response to it can be viewed at http://www.shropshirehillsaonb.co.uk/2018/12/14/aonb-partnership-response-to-the-glover-review-of-designated-landscapes/