AONBs in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

Sep 21, 2023 | News, News - Featured

On 21 September 2023 Third Reading in the House of Lords, the government’s amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – to enhance AONB and National Park Management Plans – was passed. The published amendment is here and Earl Howe’s speech on the amendment can be viewed on parliament.tv here.

In his speech, Lord Howe set out how the amendment will enhance the Management Plans of Protected Landscapes – National Parks and AONBs – by bolstering the contribution of partners to help deliver them, ensuring better outcomes for people and nature. He stated that, as home to some of our most beautiful and iconic places, Protected Landscapes are crucial delivery partners who are at heart of work to unleash rural prosperity and create a network of beautiful, nature rich spaces that can be enjoyed by all parts of society.

Lord Howe’s speech follows on from the Defra Secretary of State Written Ministerial Statement of Wednesday 13th September 2023 which set out a package of measures to support nature recovery in Protected Landscapes. The plans were also announced in the House of Lords by Lord Benyon, which can be seen at Parliamentlive.tv here. Defra also published a press release.

The package includes a commitment to new legislation through an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill at Third Reading (scheduled for 21 September) which will enhance National Park and AONB Management Plans by placing a stronger requirement on partners to contribute to their delivery.

The statement also announces funding for the new Protected Landscapes Partnership involving the National Association for AONBs, National Parks England, National Trails UK and Natural England, which will deliver projects and programmes on nature recovery and widening access to nature.

The announcement also confirms an extension to the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme (FiPL), with funding for a fourth year to March 2025, and refers to the positive impact of Defra’s Access for All programme, which has already enabled Protected Landscapes to improve access to the countryside for people from all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Lord Howe explained that the government has amended individual acts to strengthen the duty on relevant authorities to contribute to delivery of the purposes of Protected Landscapes and creating a power to make regulations. He further explained that the Secretary of State now has the power to bring forward these regulations and said the government is committed to doing so in a timely manner.

The Howardian Hills Joint Advisory Committee welcome this renewed government focus on strengthening the importance of our protected landscapes in conserving and enhancing natural beauty and enabling delivery of nature recovery.

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