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12/03/2015

Report spurns single designation system for national parks and AONBs

Words: Roger Milne
Snowdonia / Shutterstock_152609951

The interim report of the independent panel set up to advise the Welsh Government on designated landscapes - national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) - has come down firmly against a move to a single designation.

But the panel has recommended that AONBs should be renamed as National Landscapes of Wales.

Also proposed are three interlocking statutory purposes and a single statutory duty for the national parks and the national landscapes.

The panel’s report identified “little appetite and indeed considerable opposition to the idea of a single designation for national parks and AONBs”.

The panel has made six recommendations which planning and natural resources minister Carl Sargeant is now considering as the focus of the exercise moves on to governance arrangements.

Sargeant has yet to say whether he agrees with the panel.

The minister has insisted that national parks and AONBs were “assets that we should celebrate and protect, but also continue to harness to tackle the environmental and economic challenges that we face”.

He has stressed: “Reform will be necessary to ensure that these areas prosper through their continued protection while maximising the benefits they provide to the people of Wales.”

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