Outstandingly beautiful - and sustainable
In its first year, a new fund to boost sustainable development in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) has succeeded in getting more than four hundred environmentally friendly, community focussed and economically beneficial projects up and running.
A total of £8.7m of sustainable development funding helped create projects in thirty-four AONBs (nearly fifteen percent of England) including the re-instalment of a water wheel at Howsham Mill in the Howardian Hills, a biomass development project in Nidderdale Woodlands and a disabled access composting loo called ‘Pooh Corner’ in the Kent Downs.
'It's great to see so many people-powered projects working for a healthy and sustainable natural environment'
Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Science and Evidence for Natural England, who manage the scheme, said: “This funding helps create a sustainable way of life for people living in areas of finest countryside. AONBs prosper when communities work together to support the local economy and care for the sensitive and unique environment.
“In a rapidly evolving and ever-encroaching modern world, it's great to see so many people-powered projects working for a healthy and sustainable natural environment. This helps us look at future challenges and the measures needed to protect our treasured landscapes.”
Defra asked Natural England to set up a Sustainable Development Fund to help protect AONBs, while ensuring local communities prosper. Natural England is working with local AONB partnerships on issuing funds and finding the best ways of making the money work for individual sites.
Barry Gardiner, Minister for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs, said: "I am pleased with the success of the Sustainable Development Fund for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the many varied and interesting projects which have benefited from it.
“Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are good for our health and wellbeing, and with our support the people living in and around them can help to combat climate change and take us a step closer to what we call One Planet Living.”