Do you support any of the following options as we develop the role of protected landscapes in the new environmental land management schemes. Tick all that apply.
Designing the environmental land management schemes in a way that works for all farmers and land managers, including the specific circumstances for those in protected landscapes, recognising that farmers in these areas are well-placed to deliver on our environmental priorities.
We do not feel this addresses the specific opportunities in protected landscapes, nor does it reflect the ambition of the Landscapes Review Panel.
Using Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) to identify projects or habitats within protected landscapes.
This option also does not address the proposals of the Landscapes Review Panel. It does not reflect a central role for protected landscapes. In addition, the current proposals do not provide any clarity on what role protected landscapes are being expected or resourced to play in the development and delivery of LNRSs. This is a significant omission and needs clarification.
Monitoring the effectiveness and uptake of the new environmental land management schemes in protected landscapes. Using this to inform whether further interventions are needed to ensure we are on track for wider nature recovery ambitions.
This option again falls short of the proposals of the Landscapes Review Panel. It suggests a ‘wait and see’ approach. This is not pro-active in seeking to take the opportunities which ELM provides in delivering significant positive change within protected landscapes. Whilst monitoring of both the uptake and outcomes should be an essential part of ELM going forward, waiting to see what happens is not a satisfactory approach to delivering the best for our finest landscapes.
Creating a clear role for protected landscape organisations in the preparation of Local Nature Recovery Strategies. Our recent LNRS consultation specifically asks for views on the role of different organisations in the preparation of LNRSs, including protected landscapes.
We would welcome clarity on this through the Nature Recovery Green Paper, as well as a clear indication on how Protected Landscapes (PLs) are to be resourced to deliver this role.
Any role for PL bodies should be a leading role for that part of any LNRS which covers the protected landscape, accepting that some LNRS areas may be bigger than individual PL boundaries.
This does not however address a central role for protected landscapes in ELM as envisaged by the Landscape Review Panel and which is necessary if ELM is to support the future vision for protected landscapes. See Supporting Statement Appendix 1.
Building on FiPL, empowering protected landscapes to support decision-making and delivery against agreed priorities, including through dedicated project coordinators and advisers.
This is the option with greatest potential. We support building on the positive experience of FiPL, however, FiPL is a time-limited and relatively modest grant programme and is still very much in its early days at the time of this consultation. Secure funding, over a much longer period will be required to deliver the pace and scale of change required by Government’s ambition.
We believe any role should go beyond provision for project co-ordinators and advisors to provide delegated funding to allow protected landscapes bodies to tailor schemes locally and to address key priorities in their areas.
Farmers and land managers within protected landscapes need to be adequately incentivised to put environmental solutions in place. If the public expectation is that our protected landscapes are better for nature, have better access and can do more for climate action, then this needs properly resourced through land management schemes. Farmers and land managers can only deliver on these priorities if they can afford to do so. PL bodies are best placed to tailor schemes locally to achieve this.
Do you have any views or supporting evidence you would like to input as we develop the role of protected landscapes in the new environmental land management schemes?
Northumberland National Park Authority has, for over 20 years, had an in-house farming team. In 2006 we made a deliberate decision to strengthen this team to ensure that farmers and land managers within the Park could take maximum advantage of the then new countryside stewardship schemes. This proved to be very successful in building strong knowledge and understanding between land managers and the Authority and was very effective in encouraging uptake of and adding value to schemes.
By 2016 almost 100% of the farmed area of the Park was in some form of environmental stewardship scheme, and these agreements, the majority of which were developed or informed by the NNPA farming team, with advice from specialist officers, were focussed to help deliver key national park objectives.
These objectives included not only nature conservation outcomes but also important public access and cultural heritage initiatives.
Following successive funding cuts from 2010 onwards, the size of the farming team in the Park has shrunk to just three full time equivalents. Whilst this team maintain close and trusted working relationship with farmers and landowners across the Park, we need further resources if it we are to deliver the best for the Park through ELM. Therefore, a central and resourced role for protected landscapes, as set out by the Glover Panel is important.
ELM, with a central role for protected landscape bodies, could build on the existing success and help connect key national outcomes with opportunities within individual protected landscapes.
It is therefore important that ELM addresses all public benefits within protected landscapes and does not only focus on ‘nature’ and ‘climate’. We should be seeking to deliver multiple environmental (natural capital) benefits, including cultural heritage, the historic environment and public health and well-being.
As stated elsewhere in our response we would like to see a degree of delegation of funds to protected areas to allow them to shape ELM, or at least part of it, locally to take advantage of local opportunities in pursuance of national objectives.
Should AONBs have a second purpose relating to connecting people and places, equivalent to that of National Parks
We support a strengthened second purpose being extended to AONBs. We would point out however that national parks and AONBs are not the same in respect of the second purpose.
One of the key differences in the initial designation of national parks and AONBs was the different visitor and development pressures that they were seen to be facing, landscapes of equal value in terms of ‘natural beauty’.
Not all AONBs, and indeed not all national parks are the same, but what all national parks have in common is that they are subject to significant visitor pressures and to a varying degree, development pressures. If the second purpose is to be extended then Government should be clear as to the reason for doing so, as this represents an additional burden to protected landscapes.
As with a strengthened first purpose, we would highlight the need for Defra to work across government to support the delivery of the second purpose. For example, Defra should champion the role of protected landscapes with the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities, and Department of Health and Social Care; setting out what is required if we are going to achieve Government’s ambitions in this area.
There is little mention of how this additional responsibility will be funded, and there is clearly concern if the overall protected landscape budget doesn’t increase as this could impact negatively on national park budgets. While the 2021 spending review is mentioned – no clear indication on details or impact for national park budgets is set out.