Gloucestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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CPRE calls for The Forest of Dean to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Sunday, 10 March 2013 20:08

bluebells in the Forest of Dean bluebells in the Forest of Dean

10 March 2013

The Campaign to Protect Rural England is calling for the Forest of Dean to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The campaigning organisation has released an eight-point Manifesto for the Landscape, which calls for Government and local action to do more to protect and enhance England’s landscapes and our National Parks and AONBs, and to consider  extending AONB status to the Forest of Dean, Yorkshire Wolds and the Herefordshire Marches.

Many will be surprised to hear that the historic and hauntingly beautiful Forest of Dean does not already have AONB status, especially after it was threatened last year by Government proposals to sell off Forestry Commission land across England to the highest bidder, which have now been overturned.  

Charlie Watson, chair of the Gloucestershire branch of CPRE, said: “The Forest of Dean, one of the country’s most historic forests is also one of the least protected. AONB status would help protect this stunning landscape which marks the hinterland between England and Wales.  Natural England has the responsibility for designation and we will continue to press for early action to safeguard this outstanding part of Gloucestershire.”

The area fully merits designation and has been a candidate for AONB status since the system of National Parks and AONBs was established after the Second World War.  It was nearly designated in 1971 as part of a wider Wye Valley and Forest of Dean AONB, but incredibly the Forest of Dean part was left out.  

Emma Marrington, CPRE’s National Rural Policy Campaigner says:

“Our Manifesto sets out eight things that the Government needs to do for our countryside, from the most majestic mountain-tops to the green spaces next-door to where most of us live.”

She added: “The current review of Natural England makes the future for our landscapes and countryside even more uncertain. The country needs a powerful public champion for landscapes. It is vital that the Government commits now to keeping Natural England as a free-standing body, and to providing it with secure funding to do its job properly.”

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